Q. GORDON SIMPSON: Welcome, Padraig. Last year you won in the playoff, how do you feel coming back?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: At that time I had not won for a while. I had not won a big event and this was a step up in grade. It meant everything in the sense in that it gave me a sense of accomplishment. It gave me a sense of, "oh, I've done that." It wasn't unhappy but it wasn't a question of, it was more of a sense of satisfaction that I needed to win. I said it at the time, you know, Eduardo was unlucky to lose. I just think I wanted it more. It was very much a question of I needed that and I wanted to win. My focus was just on getting the job done.
I wasn't swinging the club very well that week, and some weeks you are not swinging the club very well and you start tinkering and you start working on things. So you get better for the following weeks, but that given week I just wanted to win so badly that I just you know, just get the job done by any means rather than, you know , I wasn't trying to play well and pretty and swing the club well and win. I was just trying to win. I think the sort of focus of wanting to win carried me through for that week because I was certainly swinging well.
Q. After the Ryder Cup, then coming here and struggling?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know maybe I should learn some lessons, but I did like every other guy at the Ryder Cup. I played nine holes practice in total. I never went to the practice rounds. I was totally out of character for that week. I did everything the opposite possibly that I ever do in a normal tournament and I played well. So I suppose I've done that in every event since then but that's life. I went out with the sole purpose it was not a week that I was there to try to get better for the future. It was just a week I was going to play as it was, obviously trying to enjoy it. As I say, I wanted to play well and get the job done.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, not this year. Believe it or not I haven't. Amazing, isn't it? I haven't at all. I can sit up here and say that. An interesting thing I'm going to tell you, normally you don't mention it as a players last year, somebody asking, I played with him and the question had been asked, what was the difference? And he said, well, somebody told me I was practicing too much, so this week I just decided not to practice. He left it alone and he comes out and wins the event. And I said to him at the end of the week, I says, you know, that's all very well, but you'll do that again. You can do it one week and it works, but we've got to do some practice to get better over time. Undoubtedly, for Stewart, solely focused on playing one event, the way he prepared was by getting lots of rest and doing very little practice. But we play 30 events in a year, I certainly don't prepare perfectly for a lot of them.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I have been obsessive for five years. You know, when I came out on Tour, I kept my head down and did my own thing for a couple of years, but continual how do you put this continual, sort of knocking, oh, you're a great putter, you chip and putt, you scramble, you do this, do you that. It's the craziest thing where you can't swing the golf club very well. So I spent five years trying to get the other part of my game up to scratch, and undoubtedly I've become very obsessive about it.
But the whole idea, and my wife will laugh at me when I say this, and I've said this before, the whole idea is if I do the work now, so before I have a young family and things like that, when I won't have as much time, hopefully in the future I won't have to work as hard.
So up to now , to the detriment of individual tournaments, I've been far too obsessed with how I'm swinging the golf club, yes. But the whole intention is that in time, I will, as I said, be like Colin Montgomerie have a low maintenance golf swing, when I turn up I know where my swing is more or less and I'm only tweaking it a little bit, do this a little bit, but the swing is going to stay there more or less constant. Obviously some work has to be done but not as much. That's the whole idea, that as you get on with the Tour and you have a family and things like that, you can't work as hard.
Like it's a side effect of working out and training. It just means it doesn't mean I spend more time at the range that I'm thinner. I would be better off not training so much and get tired and then I have to go back to my hotel.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've got to say, I spent a couple of days practicing with my coach and I wanted to work on my swing. So here, I did not go near the range; with the wind, it is not helping you swing the golf club out there. Yes, this is a week you are definitely better off saving all of your energies and not rushing too much. It means having a bit of fun out on the course and getting your imagination going, but hitting too many balls on the range here will not do anybody any good.
Q. When you say prepare for the future, how many years?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's a question I would have addressed with Bob Rotella, and Bob Rotella's key motive is if you turn up to play a tournament, you should solely be there to win the tournament. And if you're not there for that reason, you should have a week off and practice.
So, yes, there does come a time when you say: "Yes, I'm ready to play golf now," where certainly over the last number of year, I've been thinking, "let's get ready to play golf in five or six years time." There comes a time when you have to turn around and say yes. I think when I was growing up, they said, you know, 29 years of age, 28 years of age was a peak. But certainly looks at the moment in your mid 30s to be your peak time for a professional golfer up to about 40 years of age. I've got to get focused on that stage.
Hopefully, as I've said, I've put in of hard work over the last five years, and hopefully that will stand good to me.
GORDON SIMPSON: Your driver, any problems in that department?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: As I say, I've gone out with one of the TaylorMade guys. It seems to be very nice. Next week I'll get a new one as well to try. Obviously I'll wait and see which is better and what works the best for me. I tend to change my focus back to let's get better, let's improve, let's do this, where certainly for the next the end of the year is nearly finished and I find myself thinking, I'd better get down to work and start there's no point preparing my game today for Christmas and January. I'd better get going now and get the head down and do the work now, and not really wait till the winter before I start tinkering with anything, I would say.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I haven't checked. I said set some very nice, easy goals. I couldn't tell you how many, no. I haven't sat down and counted them back. That's probably another month or two away before you start doing that. Wait and see. Haven't done that.
Q. Have you played with the new driver?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes, I've got one to be honest, I've got three in the bag going out today. I think I have a driver. I think one of them is going to be it. So hopefully that will.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Very much. Yeah, without a doubt unfortunately, as defending champion, it kind of puts a little bit last year I came in with the attitude, I really think this is the perfect as you go in you're playing a game golf and you're playing with an amateur partner. First thing, after the Ryder Cup last year, enjoy, have a little bit of fun, enjoy the company, be relaxed. It's a totally separate idea of golf. I not the same as every other week, let's have a bit of fun. Unfortunately, I played well so it got serious. And this year I feel as defending champion there is a little bit more pressure on you there, is a little bit more expectations. It's a little bit serious to start off this year, but hopefully when I get going, I'm playing with Darren as well, so it's all good company. We should enjoy the golf.
That's the first and foremost thing to go out there, because usually when you enjoy it, you tend to play a bit better and hopefully that will follow on. So it's a very nice without a doubt, last year, J.P. McManus helped me win the individual, without a doubt. I can honestly say that maybe in another week, if it was a normal tournament I might not have won, but having an amateur partner there, with something else to focus on early on, I wasn't so, you know, as I say I wasn't swinging the club well. But I wasn't hung up about it because there was other things happening you've got other people there; you kind of have to respond to them. You're not on your own, let's say, so it is a better situation like that. And last year it helped. If you consider winning the playoff, he definitely helped me win the tournament, without a doubt.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know what, I don't know. I don't know.
GORDON SIMPSON: Did he want to?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He played 13 or 14 last year, maybe 12 with the three quarters of a handicap. I think he's a 15 handicapper, I'm not quite sure. J.P., you know, for the team wise, he performed great last year. It was interesting that on the Sunday they showed him a few times more on TV and people came up to me and said, "oh, he didn't play well." I said, well actually he won the event because he parred 8, 9, 10,11, 12, he went from being one shot ahead to four shots ahead. Even though he didn't show it , the funny thing is they kept showing the bad shots, which is a pity. Actually, he did tremendous. He came in a lot and especially the last round there, he made those couple of pars in the middle of the round and that gave us the leeway that we were not going to lose coming home.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I think thankfully, about 180, this week we are all individuals. Like every other week, there's players who go to certain countries who play well but not in certain countries or certain golf courses. If you like the golf course and you have somebody else who doesn't and they will play well, and it is the same with a Pro Am format. It's the same with three golf courses. It's the same if the weather may be windy, some players will think this is great and some players will think this is terrible. There will be players out there who will think that is a hindrance and there will be other players out there who will think it's nice.
There's a lot of players out here who I think would not mind going back to playing at my local club and playing this format, let alone coming to three of the best golf courses in the world and being paid to do it. We are being paid massive amounts of money, but yet if they could play with some of these styles in their local golf club, they would play at a drop of a hat. There's a variation, without a doubt, that some players are really looking forward to it. It really is, it's like I'm sure you've got to see it, just to be around the hotel, big stars walking by. You want to go and say hello, but then you say, actually, they don't know me. You think you know them because you're seeing them on TV. Even in town you see people walking by as if it's normal.
So there is that sort of charisma about the event. It is a bit of a show. Personally I think it's brilliant to see some of these guys, as you say, just to see them in real life, sporting heros, movie stars, TV stars. It kind of just adds to the whole show.
And to be honest, I think that's one of the things that this is a bit of a show. It's not just a golf tournament. The golf tournament happens when you play well and it gets serious, but there is a bit of a big show that it's a special event. It's not a normal event and it should never be treated as a normal event. I don't think the tournament ever set out to be a regular Tour event. It's something different. Okay, some people don't particularly love that amateur format, but if you look at it for all the good points, it's tremendous. As a professional golfer it kind of makes you fee it does make you feel special that these guys want to come and play with you; whereas, you're watching them on TV and movies and the whole lot and they are stars in their own right. It's all happening this week.
Q. Which names in particular do you look up to?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's not that I it's just the people that you see. Like I see Ian Botham in the restaurant, on his own and you kind of go, oh, yes, no wonder he's here. I got the list yesterday and Hugh Grant is in the list. I know I saw him last year but he probably doesn't remember. Last year at Carnoustie, I saw Peter Schmeichel and I remember looking at the guy , you kind of go and say, gee, he is a big guy, isn't he. Like Samuel L. Jackson was at the Pro Am party last night. You just think, wow, he is cool, isn't he. You look at everyone and you make those little comments, generalizations and it's always about, oh, I thought he was bigger. It's always that. And it's very much a sort of as you say, it's a special event. It's not normal. It's not regular. To be honest, a lot of these I suppose some of the guys are looking at the professional golfers and saying that, but as the professional golfers, we are looking at the stars and saying, wow. And then we discuss the characteristics like they are good or bad, we judge them. It's just a nice extra to the golf event.
You've got to remember, we play so many tournaments, 28 or 20 of them are going to be the same every week and this one is certainly not the same. There's nothing about this week that you can say is the same about any other week, that's for sure. There will be a winner at the end of the week, but everything else is different.
GORDON SIMPSON: You don't realize these guys put you on a pedestal, as well.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Maybe they do. Maybe they are saying: God, he's skinnier in real life or something like that . Hopefully they are saying that. But no, I'm sure they do that, as well. It's not for us to get in that position where we are pointing fingers and doing all that and you can see that person and he's not as big. It's usually the size that you get a misperception, or he's a nice guy or he's really like that on TV. All that sort of thing. It adds to the whole show.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I didn't. It was as you say, I know you're not going to jump in there.You can just sit in the hotel there and stargaze for a couple of days. There will be people walking by. It just makes just something a little bit out of the ordinary.
GORDON SIMPSON: Well, thank you for that self deprecating interview. Good luck this week.