Valero Texas Open interview: Padraig Harrington

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April 04, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Valero Texas Open transcripts archive

DOUG MILNE:
We'd like to welcome Padraig Harrington back to the interview room here at the Valero Texas Open, following a 4‑under 68 today. With that, I'll turn it over to you, comments on the round and then a few questions.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know. Let's have some questions and get going.

Q. Your short game and putting was really strong today, wasn't it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON:
Yeah, I'm very happy about that. I chipped the ball well. I used my head to get around the golf course. My misses were good. I certainly chipped the ball well and putt it well. I felt very comfortable all day.

I hit a stinker of a putt into the 18th which kind of takes the shine off the day. That was a pity. But outside of that, it was pretty good.

Q. Was there any one hole or shot that kind of defined your round that you felt like it was memorable for you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON:
It was cold out there and it was windy, and that combination it's not a day for ball striking. Really, most of the time you're hitting knock‑down shots and swinging three‑quarter swings. You don't want to get a ball in the air for any length of time. I'm not walking away from this round thinking, “Wow, I hit a number of pure golf shots” or anything like that. As I said, it was more of mental fortitude than ball striking today.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about the course and its conditions considering yesterday's heavy downpours?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON:
You wouldn't have noticed it rained. We weren't getting quite as much run, that's for sure. But the course played great. There were no mud balls. I didn't have any, but you never get mud ball if you're going to shoot a 68 or whatever. But, yeah, the course is great.
It's a tough course. I like going to tough golf courses where it gives the tournament director an opportunity to set the golf course up easier or fairer or soften it up a bit. I find it hard when we go to a golf course that's easy and then the referees have to really tuck the pin positions. That's why I was able to get up and down today. Because it's a big golf course and a lot of the pin positions were five and six yards from the edge of the green rather than three yards from the edge of the green. So there is always an opportunity to get up and down when you have a little bit of room.
Essentially, for me, as I said the other day, Greg Norman designs golf courses to test professional golfers, not to please professional golfers. But it tends to suit my game for sure.

Q. Playing a course that you're not all that familiar with, I know there are so many devices that help you along the way. This course has obviously become a little bit of a trademark as being a very difficult course. Did you find it met your eye on first pass in competitive action?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON:
I have a pretty decent record on first outings out on golf courses, especially tough golf courses, because I don't have expectations. I'm not under pressure to go out there and shoot 8‑under par. Like going out there this morning, especially early on, it was a little bit of a battle of survival. It was colder here ‑‑ it certainly felt a lot colder here today. Last week back in Ireland it was snowing and I didn't feel as cold.

It was tough early on. In some ways that's a nice thing, because you know just keeping it level par, and then you're within your comfort zone. All of a sudden, you make a couple of birdies and you're 3 or 4‑under par pushing on. But there certainly wasn't the feeling standing in the first hole that you had to go low to stay in this tournament. There was the feeling of let's just hang in there and stay in the tournament. Sometimes that lets you play a little bit more within yourself.

Q. Not to shoot the rest of your game, but are you at your best when you're hitting three‑quarters, hitting knock‑down shots and keeping it under the wind?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON:
Yeah, that is the strength of my game. There is no doubt about it. It's not particularly the shots, even though I can hit those shots, but the thinking that goes with it. Missing in the right place and being prepared to hit a bad shot and get on with it sort of thing. On a tough day like today, there are a lot of things going on with that wind. It's getting up. It's coming across. It's changing direction at times. It's blowing and gusting. There are a lot of distractions. You're going to hit some bad shots, and one of my strengths would be dealing with that.

Yeah, I do like to see a tough course on a tough day. There is no doubt about it. History would say that that's where I'm at my strongest, and certainly I enjoy that challenge. I like it when it's tough. I like it and certainly prefer it when other people are finding it difficult too.

Q. To shoot what you did today, the putting had to be on. So could you talk about that? Then on 18, the little putt on 18, what happened there?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON:
I was very confident on 18 with my first putt. I didn't think‑‑ I hit a good putt I thought pace‑wise. I was looking for it, hoping for it to go in the hole. I was surprised when it went four or five feet by. It wasn't a difficult putt, back uphill, right half. And as I got over it I actually stood off it once. The wind was gusting from my left, which it shouldn't have been. It shouldn't have been from my left at all, and it was blowing quite hard. I got a little bit, should I be hitting this putt straight? And I ended up trying not to miss the putt right, and I succeeded very well in doing that. We're very good at succeeding in what we want.

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