2013 PGA Grand Slam of Golf Interview: PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON


2013 PGA Grand Slam of Golf Interview: PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON

October 15, 2013

JUSTIN ROSE   67 (-4)
JASON DUFNER  69 (-2)
ADAM SCOTT   70 (-1)
PADRAIG HARRINGTON 74 (+3)

JULIUS MASON: Pádraig Harrington, ladies and gentlemen, in with a 74 after the first round of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Pádraig, what happened out there today?

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, that's a question for Justin. Where is the flagstick? (Laughter).

JUSTIN ROSE: I gave it away.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: From the 18th at Merion. I assume you kept the flagstick?

JUSTIN ROSE: I had to give it away ... but they me another one.

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: You're too nice and polite. I can't believe they wouldn't have to wrestle it from you.

JUSTIN ROSE: Well, yeah, I know. It might be in some museum somewhere. They are pretty protective of their wickers.

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: Wow.

JULIUS MASON: You're in with a 74, what happened out there today?

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I played like stale golf, tired golf. Definitely hitting the ball better than that, and just decisions and things like that, I just kind of look at it and you know, just played probably too many events and I feel it's time for a break.

Need a good winter break now. I know I have a couple more events to go, but you know, the way I played out there, for sure, I didn't make one birdie from play. The three birdies I made were all on the par 5s, tap ins. I'm not holing any putts, even though I didn't hit a bad putt all day. And any time I hit an average shot or a bad shot, I end up making a bogey or more from it.

So it was really a question of ... that's a sign, when you're not making the most out of your round, that's a sign that you're just a little bit stale and not sharp. That was very much the case today. So that leaves me in a nice position to enjoy tomorrow. (Laughter).

Q. Looking at the back nine, everybody seemed to struggle. Wondering if you have any thoughts about, whether the putter or whether the wind picks up?

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know, but if my own head, I think I was a little bit ... I suppose the word could be despondent when I'm 1 over and they are 4 under and I'm thinking they are going forward.

I should have the experience or wherewithal to realize to stick in there. My position would be so much better if I was back there at level par. You know, wouldn't be too far away from the lead.

So it was a little bit disappointing to throw away as I did the two shots on 16, things like that. I look at my whole round and I think, well, as bad as it was and as bad as things went, I still should have been three or four shots better and that wouldn't be too far out of the competition.

Obviously Justin is 4 under; means somebody is going to have to play well to catch him. I need a minor miracle to catch him. It's possible.

But as regards the golf course, yeah, the back nine was clearly tougher. I thought the scoring was fantastic for the first seven holes. I think two 4 unders and a 3 under, that was pretty hot stuff for, as I said, the first seven holes.

After that, it's a pretty testing golf course. If you don't hit it on the fairway, you're getting flyers out of the rough and trying to control the ball out of the rough with the wind. It's difficult.

Q. Obviously last year, Webb Simpson was back and then shot a 65 in the second round, so it's not

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: It's possible, there's no doubt about it. Yeah, it is possible and that's what we'll be going out there to try and do. I need a different mind set going out there, and I don't mean that ... it's not like I'm not trying or it's not like I'm not trying to enjoy it and think that as Justin said, the main goal tomorrow is go out there and enjoy it.

I'd be in the same mind set, but unfortunately I go out there with that intention but don't exactly live it when I'm on the golf course. So that is a sign that, as I said, that you could just do with a nice winter break.

Q. What did you hit on the 16th hole and how difficult was it playing straight downwind like that?

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: It was pretty simple today. I think we were all hitting 5 irons and you know it was a tiny bit out of the right and strangely enough, which is ... again, strange mind set, I didn't want to follow Adam into the bunker. You know, maybe if I was 2 or 3 under par, I might have been wary of the left hand side.

But as I was, I was thinking, oh, don't hit it over in the right hand bunker. Don't bail out there. I made a bad swing as it turned out. But I would have said, of all the times I've played the 16th, that would be the easiest we've seen it, for sure: Front right pin, downwind. Yeah, it was playing nice today. And I probably took it a little bit too ... yeah, how would I put it ... I didn't give it enough respect. That would be a good way of putting it.

Q. Yesterday you spoke a lot about intensity and you need to have that intensity to play well; is that what was missing today?

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, it's not ... you know, I've been thinking about ... trying to figure out ... it's not. It's just pure staleness in the game. Just overplayed. I don't mean ... I'm now already in my head pulled out of another two events during the winter to give me a longer winter break, and it will be probably the longest winter break I've taken probably since I won my Majors. I used to take eight weeks. That was cut down to six weeks for the last number of years.

So I'm definitely going to bring it back up to eight weeks and even examine it further to see if I can maybe take another one or two tournaments out of it, as well, and take close to a two and a half month break. It would be torture sitting at home and watching other people out there playing, but it would be good for my game. It's not great for me getting into the Masters and it's not great for me making The Ryder Cup, but for my own well being, it would do me a lot of good to have a good, sizable rest period.

Q. Inaudible?

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, in the end of the day, as I said, I wouldn't ... I don't believe I'm fully trading them, because if I did, I wouldn't ... obviously I still think there's a possibility of playing well.

It's just obviously the longer you take off, you're letting other people get a head start. So I need to get back into the Top 50 to get into the Masters. And if I don't play, I can't get in by the 31st of December, so that sort of stuff.

But you still just want to play the best golf you can when you tee it up, and the best way of doing that at this moment, looks like I've probably played a little bit too much, and I need to take a step back and have a bit of a rest; which will be incredibly frustrating for me, which is probably the best thing about it.

I'm not the sort of guy ... when I do take time off, I practice and I will practice. But I'd be the sort of guy that always want to be out on the golf course playing. It will be interesting taking a little bit of a longer break.

Q. Are you the kind of player that looks at some of the shots that you would hit during a run like today and ask yourself, or tell yourself, I know I'm better than this? Or do you just know, I'm tired and that's a result of too much golf.

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, the thing is, I've seen it before, from experience. And when I look at like a shot like on the third hole today, I'm thinking of hitting a 9 iron. Okay, we're going to go with a smooth, choked 8 iron, and I hit it hard.

You know, that change of mind is ... the intention was to hit a nice, smooth 8 iron and you stand over it and you give it a little extra. That's a pure example of you're not ... you're getting in your own way.

Another example of that, like the chip shot on the back of 14, I completely overplayed it. I didn't really see what I wanted to do. Wasn't that I miss hit the shot or anything like that. I didn't see it. And that's another sign of you're just not with it when you're doing things like that.

You do want to ... it's a fine line, because I like to play to keep myself competitive, too. But there's not a shadow of a doubt ... I'm not going to be somebody ... you'd never see me, I would struggle to compete like Steve Stricker, playing, having two or three weeks off and playing an event.

But I'm more likely to cram my events in and take bigger breaks outside of it would be ideal for me. I do like playing two or three weeks in a row. I don't have a problem with that. But probably need to tone down the practice, too. I overdo that, as well. It will be an interesting one, but there's not a shadow of a doubt that I am completely over golfed at this very moment.

And I'm looking ... everybody is going to read your articles and say, how could you be over golfed, but I'm completely overgolfed at the moment.

JULIUS MASON: Mr. Harrington, I would like you to know that all of us are going to help you to your next stop at the door right now, because it looks like you need it (laughter).

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, but that's the thing, actually as a player, I enjoy talking about the game more than I used to. I enjoy giving clinics and all that sort of stuff ... you'll see me tonight, won't stop me talking (laughter). It's amazing how you change, you know. That's who I am now.

JULIUS MASON: And don't change. Don't change. Thanks for coming in.

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