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THE IRISH OPEN


June 29, 2012


Padraig Harrington


PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND

SCOTT CROCKETT:ツ Thanks, as always, for coming in and joining us and well played again today, another excellent round and another good position in the tournament going into the weekend.ツ Give us your thoughts on today and going into that weekend.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツツ Today was nicely within me.ツ It was quite a comfortable 67 in the conditions.ツ I didn't have too much stress out there.ツ I wasn't out of position too often.ツ I had a lot of birdie chances.ツ Not too many really tight birdie chances but a lot of birdie chances and kept rolling the ball at the hole, and if the odd one dropped, and that was enough to add up to 67.
SCOTT CROCKETT:ツ Anything in particular please you today?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ No, I did nothing out of the ordinary.ツ I got a good break on 1, probably hit a little careless approach shot to the hole and a long putt maybe 45 feet.ツツ I made a big mistake on 5.ツ But outside of that, it was nice.
It was nice to hole the putt on 17.ツ I had a string of reasonable chances there on the back nine.ツ So none of them individually would you expect to hole but it was nice to hole one of them.
So I feel quite nice, 10‑under par, going into the weekend.ツ I know a lot of golf is to be played here.ツ This is a golf course that it's easier to be the chaser on than it is to be holding onto a lead.ツ Plenty of guys in the pack here 7‑, 8‑under par, will be capable of shooting 6‑under, 7‑under tomorrow.
It's tougher I think if you are holding onto something here, because every shot out there has a little bit of trouble.ツ And if you get defensive, you can find that trouble.ツ Whereas if you've got a bit of freedom in your game, there's certainly potential for making birdies.
SCOTT CROCKETT:ツ A lot of smiles from the three of you and the thousands of people watching.ツ A great reception come down 18.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ It sounded like an Open Championship coming down 18.ツ The crowds are clapping you from 140 yards short of the green, as they were ‑‑ they clapped us all day going onto every green but particularly the last six holes when the rain went away and the umbrellas are down; every single hole, there was rapturous applause and cheering as we approached the green.
That's unique, great to see, and I think all of the players, especially the players right down the rankings, they are not used to this, so they really appreciate it.ツ We all appreciate it.ツ It's nice to play golf events amongst big crowds.

Q.ツ You said after the Olympic Club that nobody was really paying any attention to you going in there, and that they certainly would be talking about you going into the Open Championship.ツ Is that doubly so now after the way you've performed over the first couple of rounds?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Who knows what's going to happen over the next couple of days.ツ Yeah, you know‑‑

Q.ツ Do you relish that, the extra attention you're going to have now?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Well, you know, if you don't have it, you're not playing well.ツ That's the reality of it.ツ If people walk by you and don't ask you the questions or don't look for some of your time, that means they don't want to because you're not playing well enough.
It's definitely something that you want to be in that position where your time is in demand and obviously I'm playing well at the moment.ツ Whatever happens tomorrow or the next day, whatever happens at The Scottish Open, my game is in good stead that I'll be bringing a good game to The Open Championship.
You know, it's hard to go deliver in any tournament, let alone deliver in a major tournament when you have to.ツ So I'm not going to put myself under that much pressure that I have to‑‑ you know, I have won three of them, the Open.ツ So as I said, I'll win more in the future and just be patient and let it happen.ツ Doesn't have to happen in three weeks' time.ツ Much like this weekend, as much as I would dearly love to win, it doesn't have to be this week.ツ I know they are around the corner and they tend to come like buses; when you get one, a few more arrive very quickly.

Q.ツ What sort of a course setup would you like over the weekend and what do you think you're going to get?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I expect to get an appropriate course setup on the weekend and that's the course setup I'm looking forward to getting, an appropriate one, depending on the weather conditions and that.
You know, the tournament director, the referees, the guys who do this, they are well suited and they do this for a living and know exactly what to do.ツ They have the experience to do it and with the best knowledge of the forecast, which the best knowledge of the forecast is obviously not great here but at the end of the day, they will make the appropriate decisions.
But I will say on the golf course, if you can stand up on the likes of‑‑ if you're chasing and you have nothing to lose, and you're 7‑under par, 8‑under par, something like, that you can stand up on the likes of 9 and 10 and open the shoulders of a driver and be relaxed.ツ It doesn't matter if you wing one into the rubbish, not really going to cost you anything, it's just a lost ball or whatever.ツ But otherwise if you're leading the tournament, you'll try to keep it down a little bit and you're trying to avoid‑‑ this is a golf course, that the chasing pack will be able to chase on.
Somebody is going to go out there tomorrow and make some birdies and make up some ground.ツ It's that sort of course that lends itself to great golf but also puts everybody who has got something to defend under a little bit of pressure.ツ They are pressing shots out there and if you let the ball go at all, you can find some trouble.

Q.ツ You were saying that everybody was enjoying the big crowds, but over the weekend on the business end of things, how much more are you and the other Irish players going to be able to feed off that?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Yeah, you've got to think it's going to help.ツ So it can put you under pressure if you're not performing.ツ There's no doubt, the expectations, that was a big problem for me early on in the Irish Open.ツ You've got such encouragement and expectations from people that you‑‑ not that you feel‑‑ well, maybe you do feel like you're letting them down.ツ So it can have a reverse effect.
Obviously if you're going well in the tournament, you are being carried along and you can see Graeme, he was getting clapped on every green but when he made a couple of birdies, all of a sudden the crowd‑‑ he was being carried along a little.ツ It definitely can be a very positive thing and a big help out there.
You know, I think I'm going to look at it like that and use it to my advantage and enjoy it.ツ There was one or two greens I was walking up on today where I was getting a very loud applause walking on to the green and I did take a second to enjoy it, because it doesn't happen all the time.ツ Very easy to walk on to a green and nobody knows it.
Today, it wasn't one of those days, and the one thing I do know from experience, you've got to make sure you enjoy those days because they don't come as often as you think they do.

Q.ツ When you look back at the nature that you won your Majors, do you think this is the perfect position for you and this is exactly where you want to be?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Well, my three Majors were distinctly different in all of them.ツ You know, probably realistically came out of the pack in Carnoustie, had my chance in the playoff.ツ Birkdale was completely different.ツ I was the favourite, I assume, going into the last round, or at least I did feel like that. ツMaybe that's the position I'm in now.ツ I'm sure Grテゥgory Bourdy at 12‑under par doesn't feel like that.ツ But there will be a lot of expectations on me being two shots behind.
As professional golfers, we have to deal with all of these things all the time and we have to apply ourselves and do our own thing and try to put all of the clichテゥs together and work around it.
So that's what I'll be getting my head around the next two days.ツ But I will enjoy the crowds.ツ I will make an effort to let myself be helped by the crowds in that sense and to be drawn into it.ツ I'm sure if worst comes to worse, I'll enjoy it anyway.

Q.ツ In your career have you always enjoyed the chase, and is there anything in particular in your game that you think lends you to it?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Chasing is so much easier.ツ It's just an easy way of playing golf.ツ It's very hard to be the leader out there when you've got the spotlight on you and you have something‑‑ it's a tough position to be in.ツ Chasing, to be honest, if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.ツ So you've got nothing to lose.ツ It's an easy way.ツ It's a little bit of a cop‑out to be honest.ツ To be able to take a lead and go with it, takes a bit of courage.
So whatever happens, happens.ツ And if I get a two‑shot lead, I'm going to have to deal with it and enjoy that, as well as‑‑ and definitely I'd rather have that.ツ Nobody in their right mind was obviously behind.ツ There's more stress in leading there's no doubt about it.ツ There's always more stress in leading on a golf course that lends itself to birdies.ツ It's a lot easier to lead on the more difficult golf course where chasing pins, it's difficult for guys who are chasing you, so you can always play chase and they have to play chase, as well.
As I said, this golf course lends itself to birdies so it lends itself to guys‑‑ sometimes a leader will have a 20‑foot putt and you'll see him leave it six inches short.ツ A guy who is two shots behind, he ain't going to be leaving it six inches short.ツ He's always going to give a run at it.ツ So chasing on this golf course, you would will see the chasing the pack feeling good out here, and there will be guys‑‑ certainly it will be moving day.

Q.ツ You achieved so much on so many big stages in golf but people still harken back not days of the 70s at the Irish Open, and even yourself you spoke about going to Portmarnock and getting that thrill.ツ Was today probably the first time that you experienced that thrill for yourself and is it something that you didn't expect to get?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ No, I think that's unusual about today is that it's happened on a Thursday and a Friday at 7.50 in the morning.ツ Obviously in Killarney, at Adare Manor, in Portmarnock, on all of these venues on Sunday when the weather is there, on Sunday there's been 20,000 people plus at the Irish Open in the past.
So of course we've experienced it before.ツ What we are finding here is a consistency of it, the depth of it early on in the tournament.ツ It is incredible in these conditions for the crowds and support that's out there.ツ Definitely never seen it before on a Thursday or a Friday.ツ But.
On a Sunday afternoon, there might be, I assume there will be plenty of Sunday afternoons sold out before on an Irish Open.ツ So we have experienced it; just not for the length of time and for the time that we are experiencing.

Q.ツ How much fuel is in the tank and are you topping it up with adrenaline?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ You know, it's something I'm wary of, yes.ツ Am I running low?ツ I felt better here on Monday, Tuesday, than I did Monday, Tuesday of Travelers last week.ツ I was definitely‑‑ U.S. Open took a lot out of me.ツ I don't think I stopped thinking about the U.S. Open for four or five, six days afterwards.
So I've been feeling good this week.ツ All of the readings, monitors, all of that sort of stuff is saying everything is in place.ツ I've been to the gym a few times and it's all been good, plenty of power there.ツ It should be okay but I'm very wary of it and I will use‑‑ as I said, I will use the benefit of the crowd to make sure that I'm well up for it.
Plus the tournament, when you're in contention, it's not hard to get up for it when you're in contention.ツ If I was out at 6.30 tomorrow morning, maybe I would be tired, but not when you're a couple of shots back.
SCOTT CROCKETT:ツ Pテ。draig, hope you have a good night's rest.ツ Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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