Interview with Padraig Harrington
JULIUS MASON: Your winner of the 30th PGA Grand Slam of Golf, 66 67, a total of 133, 9 under total. Pádraig, it looks like you made the right decision to come to Bermuda.
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: Absolutely. It was always the right decision no matter what. You've got to come here. You've got to give yourself the chance. It's a fantastic tournament. It's an enjoyable tournament. Even if I finish fourth here, I'd be quite confident that I made the right decision. It is a bonus to come and win, no doubt about it.
And it was unfinished business for me, having lost in two playoffs, it was nice to come back and win it now. Yeah, it feels good. I haven't won in a while, so you know, it's nice; winning is a habit and it's nice to do it.
JULIUS MASON: If we can go through your card before we go to Q&A, starting with your birdie on No. 5.
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, No. 5, I hit driver in the middle of the green. I played the first five holes really well. Hit driver in the middle of the green, 2 putted and things were very comfortable. Kind of lost my focus a little bit on 6 and 7 and things were going away for me.
I holed a putt on 8, no doubt a bonus. I hit a bad tee shot on 11 and I hit a super 6 iron into the green to four feet.
You know, you know when things are going for you on both 11 and 12 I had another 4 footer on 12, as well, and both times, the guys in front of me hit putts and missed and essentially read the putt for me. So there was no questioning the line or any doubt.
Then obviously following up with another birdie on 13, I hit my nicest shot of the day, I hit 6 iron in there to about ten feet.
From there on, it was very much trying to batten down the hatches and get to the clubhouse. I think I was four shots ahead at that stage. I think things might have been different on 15 if Webb holed his putt. I obviously only had a two shot lead coming into 16, which is a treacherous hole.
But yeah, it was a bonus to sit on a three shot lead. And then once I holed my putt on 16, I felt it was all over at that stage. It was just a question of getting the last two holes played without too much harm, too much damage being done.
It's always nice to have three putts to win a tournament, and if you have three, take them.
Q. I would imagine winning any tournament has to be good for the confidence. Can you just talk about how good it feels to win again, and getting close to ending the year on a good note?
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: It's very important to win. There's no doubt about it. And the feelings I would have out there, you know, in the last today and the 18 holes is the exact same feelings you would have on a Sunday because I have a two shot lead and I'm trying to protect the lead somewhat.
I knew I need to make some birdies to move forward. It's exactly like any Sunday. You know you don't want to mess up and yet you still have to play some good golf. Definitely out there at times I have to remind myself not to be too cautious and at times I have to try to be aggressive and try to make the birdies. You can't wait for other guys to make mistakes. You have to go for it.
I had a nice run in the middle of the round with three birdies and for me, that closed it out. That was very important. And it was a question I suppose the tee shot on 15 and the tee shot on 16 are difficult, but at least with a three shot lead, I knew I didn't have to chase anything. And it was nice to hit two good tee shots on those holes, I suppose, and 17 as well. It really it was a question of getting to the clubhouse at that stage.
Q. Could you talk about the putt on No. 8, we? Saw a little chuckle in there, the guys looking off the ocean. How far was it?
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: I'd say it was 35 feet. I hit a lovely of tee shot, was a little unlucky. It pitched at the top of the slope and came back, rather than getting over the slope. But then doing my work and reading the putt, the three boys and their caddies are all discussing the water and looking out there, and I felt very lonely (laughter).
I kept telling myself, right, come on, do your job, focus here. Like anything else, you try and do it and put thoughts out of your mind. So I holed the putt and I thought, well, now I can go and enjoy the ocean, and went and stood and had a look and took it all in. You do want to take things like that in on the golf course but at times you have to be focused and not get distracted.
A good example for me on 18, because once I was on the green, when Webb did chip in, I could certainly enjoy the end of the round and take it in; whereas if I had to 2 putt the last, you really would have to keep your head down and not be smelling the roses, let's say.
That was a perfect case on that 8th hole, because it was as beautiful a scenic spot as you could find anywhere in the world and when you made a birdie and holed a long putt, it's even nicer. Hard to believe. (Laughter).
Q. How big was the up and down out of the bunker at 6?
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, yeah, I felt comfortable enough that I would get up and down there, even though when I went up, I had a bad stance. So it was a bit awkward.
My bunker play has been good this year so I didn't feel too bad about that. In terms of momentum for me during the day, like I didn't make a bogey until the last, and as I said, I 3 putted the last, so I didn't even realize I had not made a bogey until that stage.
I think the putt on 8 was very big, no doubt about it and the second shot into 11 were the two biggest moments out there for me, and maybe the putt on 16, because it really did close it out on 16.
I was really happy to hole that putt on 16, because that's the sort of thing I haven't been doing, so it was nice to hole a putt under pressure. You know, a three shot lead is very comfortable with those two holes to play. Maybe two shots wouldn't have been so good and as it turned out, it might not have been enough with two but three was plenty.
Q. What did you hit for your tee shot on 8?
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: I hit 7 iron.
Q. At 2 and 14, it looked like your approach on both of those are going to be very close and they both spun back much further than you thought they were going to.
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you know, particularly at 2, stroked it particularly well. It was more like a long chip shot. I was surprised to see it come back as much as that. Normally on a pitch shot it would be one bounce and stop.
On 14, I got drawn into that. I really liked the yardage with the club I had, but you know, in hindsight, I should have hit instead of hitting a full 50 degree wedge, I should have hit a half, 46 degree wedge and they would have landed the same place without the spin.
So maybe it was I just liked the shot so much on 14. I made got drawn into it a little bit too much, and it was a good number for the yardage. But I should have realized I was going to get a bit of backspin by hitting it hard there. So that was a mistake, the one on 2 was a surprise. The one on 14, I would categorize as a bit of a mistake but I've been very comfortable with my chipping so that was no problem where I had left myself.
Q. Just wondering if you are aware you're only the second European to have won the tournament?
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: That came up last night, I'm very surprised that only one guy has ever won before me. Surprised and very happy about that. I set a few European record, not quite a record being the second guy, but by Christmas I'll make it into some sort of record.
You know what, I'm surprised that that's the case given there's been some great Europeans and I'm sure they have played many times, but I'm just happy to be the winner this time.
Q. Last night at the champion's celebration, you talked about your career, not unlike many careers, having up and downs and peaks and valleys. And obviously Augusta is six months away, but do you feel yourself now on an upswing and are you expecting to win a major next year?
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: Expecting to win a major, that would be wow, you would love to expect to win a major, just like that. Sounds easy saying it.
I believe I'm playing really good golf. I believe that there's good stuff in my game already, and I believe that there's other stuff that I need to tidy up. I see a lot of good things happening and I do believe that I'm turning the corner into a peak. What those peaks are, we'll wait and see.
You know, you could have a beautiful 18 months and win half a dozen tournaments, but no major. Maybe I could win one major and no other tournaments and that would still be would probably be a better 18 months to be honest. You don't know what's going to happen in terms of winning and winning majors. They are not that easy to come by.
It was pretty tough for me after 2007 and by the end of 2008, it seemed quite easy. I do realize with experience that the wins, they don't come around as often as you think. I do believe I'm going into a nice period in my career now, and I'm looking forward to some good successes.
But we can wait and see. You can't force it and I'm certainly not I don't think anybody in the game really has the ability just to say, I'm going to win any particular tournament and that's it. There's more to it than that. You do need your breaks.
Just like I said today, I got some nice breaks on 11 and 12 where the guys had putts on similar lines. They were only four footers but the fact is that they were made a lot easier by the fact that the two guys gave me the lines, actually win on both. It's easy to hole a 4 footer when you don't have any doubt.
Q. What was going on on 16? I know there was a lot of confusion going on.
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: It's very awkward on the Tour when a ball crosses a red hazard or a yellow hazard. It's always difficult to establish. As it turns out, I probably had the best view. Keegan had turned away. His caddie was pretty confident and I was confident once the ball had carried up a good distance.
I felt when I got up there, the line was even left of the red stake. Keegan was definitely being harsh on himself. It's nice to see that and maybe if he got up there all guns blazing, I would say, no, it's definitely crossed. But I felt I couldn't be positive but I was pretty sure it had crossed. And the fact that it wasn't my decision, but Keegan was edging so much away from it because he was afraid to make a decision and he didn't want to be seen to take advantage. But I felt he would be going the wrong way if he felt back.
I felt he was being overly harsh on himself. When nobody could make a decision, I eventually decided, well, I'll make the decision. (Laughter).
Q. Was Bubba's more clear cut?
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, Bubba, I'm struggling to remember Bubba's first shot. It's hard to know actually. I think Bubba wanted to go from the tee. It was yeah, I'm not too sure actually because I think he could have had a good case for his ball it cut a lot. I don't know if it was short. It was hard to tell.
Bubba was quite comfortable it had not crossed but with Keegan's it was really tight to that stake and the red line was left of the stake further up and I felt his ball, with the draw in the wind, I thought it got well up. Definitely he was being very harsh and Keegan wanted to go back but it really was a question he was being a little too harsh on himself, which is nice to see, I have to say. He certainly wasn't pushing, that's for sure.
JULIUS MASON: As we were watching the telecast, we could see you are semi superstitious as you were a little peeved at potentially Caroline speaking to Billy Kratzert, so I guess the question is: Who makes the decision to celebrate tonight, you or her?
PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON: I think we haven't had a win in a long time and I've got to tell you, they don't come around anywhere near as often as you believe they come around, and when you win, you make sure you enjoy it.
Absolutely I'm going to make sure I enjoy this win because even in your very, very, very best year, you might have, you know, like in a great year, you might have three or four wins. It just doesn't happen as often as people thinks, so when it happens, you've got to enjoy it.
JULIUS MASON: Pádraig Harrington, your champion, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for coming in, Pádraig.
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