"Hazeltine is a fantastic golf course that offers plenty of options for its set-up," says defending champion Padraig Harrington. (Redington/Getty Images)
Harrington has much to say at PGA Championship Media Day
Tuesday was Media Day at the 91st PGA Championship, and defending champion Padraig Harrington had plenty to say about his memories of Hazeltine, the pressure he feels as he prepares for his title defense in August, and much more.
Media Day News Conference Participants:
-- JULIUS MASON, PGA of America Senior Director of Public Relations and Media Relations
-- JIM DAUWALTER, PGA Championship General Chairman
-- ROB CORREA, CBS Sports
-- DAVID LEVY, Turner Sports
-- IAN BAKER-FINCH, CBS Sports
-- JIM REMY, PGA of America President
-- PADRAIG HARRINGTON, Defending PGA Champion
JULIUS MASON: Good afternoon, everyone. I am Julius Mason, communications and media relations manager for the PGA of America. Welcome to the 91st PGA Championship Media Day.
There are a few people that I'd like to recognize in the audience, beginning with our very own PGA members who make the game much better.
From your region, president of the Minnesota PGA section, Jeff Drimel; executive director of the Minnesota PGA section, Jon Tollette; from Hazeltine National Golf Club, president Tim Rainey; several members of the 2009 PGA Championship Executive Committee, which include Patrick Hunt, Dan Johnson, Jeff Burzinski, David Ruegg, PGA head professional Mike Schultz, clubhouse manager Matt Murphy, and superintendent Jim Nicol, unless he's out on the golf course, where he always is. Jim made it in. Hello, Jim.
From the PGA of America, vice presidential Allen Wronowski; chief executive officer and PGA honorary member Joe Steranka; senior director of championships, David Charles; and PGA Championship director, your own Michael Belot.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's hear from the 91st PGA Championship general chairman, Mr. Jim Dauwalter.
JIM DAUWALTER: Thank you, Julius. Doesn't he do a marvelous job.
First and foremost, on behalf of Hazeltine National, its members, staff and, of course, the 91st Championship Executive Committee, I want to welcome you all here. And I also want to thank you. I want to thank you for not only your participation, but also your help and support in what you will do to help us communicate and deliver on a successful championship. So thank you very much for that.
We at Hazeltine are very proud of our legacy. I'd like to think in some ways almost a tradition of being able to bring to the Upper Midwest championship golf. And we continue to add to our résumé with this particular event. But past events include the 1966 and 1977 Women's U.S. Open, the 1980 Grand Slam of Golf, the 1983 Seniors Open, and of course we can't forget the 1970 and 1991 U.S. Opens, the 2002 PGA Championship, just three years ago the 2006 U.S. Amateur Championship, and of course in 2016 we have the Ryder Cup coming here. So we are quite proud of that list of championships and just are looking so forward to just two months from now when we once again are here hosting the '09 championship.
A couple of comments that I have. One around tickets. It's not too late to secure tickets for the season's final major. We have two packages that are still available. One is the general admission package, which is a packet of seven tickets, one for each day. It's a $300 package. That also includes free parking. The other package is what we refer to as the Wanamaker package. It's a $425 ticket. Again, seven individual tickets, so you can divide them, share them. It's however you choose to use that package. When you purchase four Wanamaker tickets, you also gain access to on site parking here at Hazeltine National.
The other thing with our ticket package that we're doing this year, and that has to do with juniors. We think that the young people of the game, the PGA definitely supports this as well, I think are vital. As a result of that, all juniors 17 and under are admitted free to the championship with a paid adult. And whatever ticket that adult is holding, that junior has access to that same venue. So we're pleased to share that piece with you, as well.
Those tickets, two avenues for purchasing those. One is at the Internet at PGA2009.com, and the other is you may call 1 800 PGA Golf. All this information will be available in the packet you have received.
I'd also like to announce that we will be holding what proved to be very popular in 2002. That is a premerchandise sale in our merchandise chalet. That will be available on Saturday, August 8th, and Sunday, August 9th. The doors open at 10 each morning and close at 5. Parking will be right next to the merchandise chalet on site here at Hazeltine. We're pleased to be able to share that with you, as well.
So in closing, I'd just like to again thank you. Thank you for being here today and being part of helping us deliver on this championship. And we definitely look forward to seeing you all here in August. So thank you.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Jim.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's hear from one of our key partners, who is responsible for bringing the PGA Championship to television. All the way from New York City, the senior executive vice president of programming for CBS sports, Mr. Rob Correa.
ROB CORREA: Thank you, Julius.
This will be CBS's 19th consecutive year televising the PGA Championship. We came in with a bang with John Daly in 1991, and have really gone onwards and upwards ever since. None of this would have been possible without the likes of Joe Steranka and his staff Julius, Kevin Carter, Casey Morton, and a fabulous run of PGA presidents. The other piece of the puzzle that has been really crucial to us in televising this has been Turner, Turner Sports, headed by David Levy. It's been a great relationship. It's two companies that really compete 51 weeks a year, but for the week out here I think it's really been a fabulous, fabulous working relationship.
We'll be on the air Thursday and Friday with late night highlight shows at 12:37 a.m. eastern time, with coverage on the weekend at 2 p.m. eastern time. Our esteemed announce team includes for the PGA, Bill McAtee, Peter Oosterhuis, Gary McCord, David Feherty, Peter Costas, Vern Lundquist, and on the 18th tower Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo. In addition, Ian Baker Finch will be doing the 15th hole, who I had the great pleasure of playing with today. We'll hear from Ian in a few minutes.
Our production team is headed by our executive producer Harold Bryant, who is here. Lance Darrel will be our coordinating producer and Steve Milton our coordinating director.
When we were here last in 2002, we obviously ended up with a very memorable PGA Championship, and one that was our second highest rated Sunday since 1978. And that was a PGA Championship that Tiger Woods did not win. He helped us, but he didn't win it.
Minneapolis traditionally when we do TOUR events index significantly higher than other markets for our golf ratings. It's really a fabulous golf market week in and week out. We really at CBS, I think I speak for our announce team, all our production team, management in New York, we really look forward to another special weekend in August.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much for joining us today.
As Rob mentioned, the 1991 British Open champion, Ian Baker Finch, enjoyed a lovely four hour round of golf today. Ian, if you wouldn't mind coming up to the podium, joining us and sharing your perspective on Hazeltine National, please.
IAN BAKER FINCH: Thank you very much. Thanks, Julius.
It's wonderful to be here. It's wonderful to be back in Minneapolis. I had a great time today, to the two Jims and Rob, we had a fantastic round out there. Thanks to everybody for making it a good time, not a long time. We got around in under four and a half hours. And that's how golf should be, shouldn't it?
I thought the course was absolutely fantastic. Obviously it's a little earlier in the season, so the course will be presented in even finer shape, I'm sure, come August for the PGA Championship. I really enjoyed the new tees. It's a unique course in that there's so much room here. It's such a rolling, open, parkland style course, with some beautiful trees, but the trees don't really dictate play here. They don't dictate the direction of the holes. The playability of the hole itself is all there in front of the players.
And because of the room, the land provides so much more space for the design team to place a few more tees back a little further. I think what it's done is it's made the course not necessarily that much harder, but it's given you the opportunity to say, hey, we've got this, the longest par 4 in PGA Championship history, the longest par 5, the possibility of having the longest par 3 there at 13. But it puts the driver back in the hands of the players. And that's what I like to see.
It won't be the type of championship that's won by somebody hitting a 5 wood or a 3 iron off the tee all the time just to get it in play. They're going to have to use the driver. And it gives the championship committee the opportunity to change up a number of the holes. There may be a day when they use the 518 yard par 412th, but they'll use the up tee at 13, and then they might use the up tee at 14 and have a 310 yard drivable par 4, then go all the way back to 645 at 15. So you're gonna have some really exciting opportunities to change up the way the course plays.
Utilize the wind direction, whatever the summer brings us the week before, if we've got a lot of storms around, and the fairways are playing soft and the course is long, you can move a few of the tees up. If you're getting a windy day and it's baked out, a little bit dry, you can move them back again. So it just gives the tournament committee that opportunity to make this course even more fun.
And one of the really good things that I like about this golf course is it's par 72, it still has four par 5s. It's golf the way it was intended to be. It makes it exciting to watch. There will be an exhilarating field with huge crowds that we always get here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As you say, the golf crowds here are always fantastic. You see a lot of birdies. When you have four par 5s, they can be 600 yards, but the guys are still going to have wedges and sand wedges in for their thirds. You're going to see a lot of birdies and a lot of birdie opportunities. I think that makes for a fantastic, exciting championship.
So I look forward to being back here in a couple of months' time. I look forward to working the early round coverage with David Levy, TNT, all of the guys there, also with CBS covering the 15th hole with the best announce team in the business on the weekend.
Thanks for having me. I had a great time. Great to be back here at Hazeltine.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Ian.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, also from Manhattan, our television and digital media partner in Turner Sports, Mr. David Levy.
DAVID LEVY: Thank you, Julius.
On behalf of my colleagues at Turner Broadcasting and our friends at CBS, I'm pleased to be here today. And what a fabulous golf course. I mean, it was a tremendous day to play. I was really honored to play it. I just hope the superintendent can fix all the divots I put in there before the PGA Championship plays in August.
This year marks our 18th year televising with Turner Sports the PGA Championship, and the 11th year it's on TNT. We look forward to providing golf fans in depth analysis and coverage of golf's last major in the 2009 season.
As most of you are aware, other than the PGA Championships, we also televise the Grand Slam of Golf. And the last one to win the major here goes on to enter into the Grand Slam, which is being played this year at Port Royal Country Club in Bermuda on October 20th and the 21st.
Our incredibly experienced staff at TNT announcing team is going to be Ernie Johnson doing the play by play. You just heard Ian Baker Finch. We're also going to have Billy (indiscernible), who is going to do analysis and course reporting. Then Jim Huber, who is here today, will also provide essays and interviews of the PGA golfers themselves as well as course reporting. And nobody does it better than Jim.
In addition to our television coverage of the PGA Championship, and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Turner Sports also operates PGA.com, which will put synergy with television and our broadband coverage, again putting everything for the viewer online and on television.
This marks the fourth consecutive year we'll be again providing PGA Championship live broadband coverage on PGA.com, through TNT simulcast, live streams and bonus tournament coverage that the fans can't find anywhere else. PGA.com has helped to make digital online coverage a mainstay of following this sport. We covered over 118 hours online last year. We look to do the same this year in 2009.
Thank you again for having us here. On behalf of me, CBS Sports, we're proud to televise the 2009 PGA Championships.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, David.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, from Ludlow, Vermont, a man who was in our nation's capital on Sunday to place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. While he was in town, he also played golf at Andrews Air Force Base where he recorded his third career hole in one, to top it off I believe he saw somebody rather significant playing golf right next to him. You might want to ask him about that. Ladies and gentlemen, the 36th president of the PGA of America, Mr. Jim Remy.
JIM REMY: Thank you, Julius.
Good afternoon, everyone. I can't tell you how proud and happy I am to be here today at Hazeltine and representing 28,000 men and women professionals who work so very, very hard every day in this country to promote the game and to grow the game and help grow this game as we look into the future. This is just one example of what the PGA of America does to grow the game, is to hold one of the greatest championships that can ever take place, a major championship, and have it right here at Hazeltine.
It's certainly great to be back. This region of the country is truly exceptional when you look at its participation in the game of golf. It certainly is a hotbed of golf in America. Right here in Minnesota alone, there are 474 golf facilities within the state of Minnesota, and over 500 PGA professionals who work very, very hard every day in this game.
The economic impact of golf in the state of Minnesota alone, direct economic impact of $1.2 billion a year in revenues that come directly from the golf industry right here in the state of Minnesota, and it produces over 35,000 jobs, for people who raise their children, who put food on the table, go to work every day, pay taxes, right here in the state of Minnesota.
So we're very proud of the golf industry and we're very proud of what it means right here in the state of Minnesota.
In two months we'll be back here to play the 91st PGA Championship, right here at this really great and traditional venue. Playing the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club continues a PGA Championship tradition of matching the nation's greatest courses with the world's greatest players.
And if I might add just a few personal notes after playing the golf course this morning. First of all, I thought it was truly a major championship venue, and a venue that really meets the needs of the athletes of 2009. You know, as we look at this venue today and the athletes that are playing this game of golf in 2009, lengthening the course was certainly the right thing to do. And as we look out and we see that the average length of the par 5s for our championship here at Hazeltine will be about 615 yards, with the longest par 5 being 642 yards. There will be three par 4s over 475 yards, including No. 1 at 490 yards, and I believe No. 12 at 518 yards, and what may be the longest par 3 ever to be played in a major championship or event. So this venue meets the needs of the athletes of really today and this generation in 2009.
History has proven that the strongest fields in major championship golf have come at the PGA Championship. Since 1994, the PGA Championship has hosted the deepest field based on the Official World Golf Rankings. And you may even recall that back in 2002, right here at Hazeltine, the World Golf Rankings hosted 98 of the top 100 players in the world, and we would expect very similar results this year. Obviously, with injuries and things that take place, sometimes that changes. But we would, once again, expect it to be a tremendous, strong field for this championship.
Last year's championship at Oakland Hills featured 95 of the top 100 players, and we had players from over 22 different countries showing that this truly is an international, major championship.
The PGA Championship is the only major championship that is a 100% professional field. This year we will be featuring 20 members from our professional, national championship, or 20 club professionals who have qualified from thousands and thousands of PGA professionals, club professionals, all over this country, and raised their game to a level where they have qualified to play in this year's PGA Championship. And those final 20, that final 20 that will be joining this championship here at Hazeltine, will be chosen at Twin Warriors Golf Club in New Mexico when the final putt is putted out at our national championship on July 1st.
The excitement of the PGA Championship commands a global audience, due in part to our friends at CBS and Turner Sports. This program, we will have 28 hours of the high definition coverage by CBS Sports and TNT, and millions of viewers from more than 194 countries and territories with a household reach of more than 594 million people will view the PGA Championship.
The PGA Championship has been fortunate each year to produce special signature moments from champions who captured the Wanamaker Trophy. Those images are forever etched in time and serve as wonderful memories for golf fans throughout the world. Our defending champion took control last year in the final round at Oakland Hills Country Club. The PGA Championship was his second major in 2008. And, what's more, he set a record as the first European to win back to back majors in the modern era and became the first European since Scotland's Tommy Armour in 1930 to win a PGA Championship.
His home is Dublin, Ireland. He certainly has had the magical touch of the Irish when it comes to delivering in pressure packed moments. And for those of you who have difficulty remembering his victory last year, I'd like you to just watch the monitors and we'll get a little glimpse of that victory.
JIM REMY: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm very proud to welcome our defending PGA champion, via telephone, a true friend of golf, a true friend of the PGA of America, you just got to love the way this guy goes about playing this game, Padraig, thanks for joining us.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's great to be here.
JULIUS MASON: Some opening thoughts about your defense of this championship at Hazeltine National, then we'll go to Q&A.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's interesting listening in. As a player, I turn up and play. It's amazing what goes in behind the scenes. I think it was 590 million people capable of watching, it's impressive figures. It was nice to listen to that and know that there is a little bit more that goes on behind the scenes than us players sometimes realize.
But personally going into it, two things. First of all, I played in 2002 in Hazeltine. It was a great championship. But what I remember most about it is I hurt my neck on the Sunday. I have a picture at home on the wall, I tend to only put quirky pictures up on the wall, where my physio looks like he's trying to pull my neck off. At the top, he's got me in like a headlock as he's trying to adjust it on the course. It was one that I probably wouldn't have played on if it was anything but a major, but always in the majors you do give it a little bit more.
Hazeltine itself, fantastic golf course. I think everything Ian Baker-Finch said, it is a golf course that's there in front of you, with plenty of options. In major golf nowadays the best majors are played on golf courses that have options. If the golf course is too short or something like that, it tends to get tricky with pin positions, because that's the only way of defending it. When you have a bigger, stronger golf course, you can settle for a big golf course, a tough course, but you can set a very fair course.
I think a lot of the majors over certainly the last half dozen years have moved towards that. The golf courses tend to be very solid, fair courses, not tricky, but certainly difficult. I think Hazeltine looks like it will provide that challenge. A big, strong test, one that if you hit the golf shots on you'll get rewarded on. That's what you want. You don't want a course that pin positions are too tight, the bunkers are too tight, the slopes, just to make sure we're not running away with the course. Hazeltine obviously isn't that type of golf course.
Personally going into the event, obviously it's two months away, and two majors away, to be honest, before we get there. It really is now starting to get into the beef of the season. Any player really wants to play well from now on to the end of August. My goal is to peak through these three months. I haven't had such a great start to the year. I've been kind of focused on other things. Now I've got to get down to business and hopefully through the U.S. Open, the Open and the PGA, I'll be back to my top performances.
I do like the idea of the majors. They do seem to be easier to win in some ways. They're a bit like playing -- they feel like you're in a marathon rather than a sprint. A regular event, it feels like a quick dash. If you don't get off to a good start, you feel you're a little bit behind. Whereas in a major championship, you know it's going to come down to the last nine holes on Sunday. It's all about getting yourself in position.
So I'll be looking forward to being in top form and really getting my game peaked and ready for it.
JULIUS MASON: Padraig, thank you. We'll go to questions now.
Q. Just wondered, do you remember the golf course playing long in 2002? Your thoughts on it being another 300 yards longer?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't. You know, I remember it being a big, solid golf course. But I think even though during the week I think we had some showers, some storms during the week, but I think it was warm enough that the -- when we get into the heat, which is obviously going to be Minneapolis in August, we can start hitting the ball 300 yards plus.
Basically you can make the golf course as long as you want and we're still capable of getting out there, as long as the weather is good for it. I think you wouldn't want to play that length of golf course, certainly not in Ireland, anyway, where it's 240 yards, not 300 yards.
I think the course, I personally like to see a golf course with length it, and let the tournament committee adjust the golf course how they see fit during the week, rather than a course that's too short and leaves for options, to go extreme on the rough or the pin positions.
What I keep hearing about Hazeltine is music to my ears. It's sounding like we're going to have a big, strong test, but nothing that's going to be tricky.
JULIUS MASON: I promise it's not going to reach nine thousand yards when the Ryder Cup comes here.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The way we're going in this game, you never know. We might need that. The interesting thing, you can have a 600-yard par 5 and we can reach it, and sometimes you can have the toughest par 4 in the course being 320 yards. It depends on the actual layout of the hole to determine how difficult it is. It's good to have the options of length. It's better than pins that are too tricky or unfair pins. I'd rather hit a 4-iron into a par 4 to a reasonable pin position than hit an 8-iron into a pin position that nobody can get close.
Q. I know pro golfers like you are pretty used to living out of suitcases. What kind of things do you do to make it more at home when you're at a major in another country?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I suppose the big difference at majors is my family try and travel. I get them to travel as much as they can, and definitely travel through the summer when the kids are out of school. But at a major, I need six rooms in a hotel, which you can't get. So we always rent a house, which is obviously what you want to do. So you do have kind of a family atmosphere that week. You have home-cooked meals, because it's too hard to get bookings in restaurants.
Of all the events, you tend to do the more homely things at major championships. To be honest, you're really toning down the week, whereas in a normal event, you might look to do something in the evening. You might look to go to restaurants, maybe go sporting on occasion if there's a game on in town, whatever. But at a major, you're actually winding down quite a lot in the evenings.
You know the mental stress of that week plays on the physical side. A lot of evenings, and I think sometimes, especially if you played well, a lot of evenings, you're only fit in the evening to go back. Thankfully you might have somebody there who can cook you a home-cooked meal. You sit down and eat it. You play with the kids, chill out for the evening.
The majors by themselves distinctly are different to regular events. You definitely take it more like you might a regular event if you were playing and staying at home. It definitely has that homey atmosphere. As I said, you're not fit to do anything else the week of a major. It's not a week for getting out to the gym, doing sessions in the gym. It's not a week for heading out on the town. None of those things. It's too long a week, too stressful a week to be doing anything but taking it easy off the golf course.
Q. Being a defending champion, is there more pressure on you or is there less because you've already accomplished winning this trophy?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There's definitely more pressure the year you're defending. There's more focus on you. There's more questions being asked. There's a little bit more expectations. Even though you've done it before, can you do it again? Yeah, it brings more pressure. It's a good place to be. Like we all know, when you're under pressure, it means you care a little bit. You're exactly where you want to be in life if you're under pressure. You kind of embrace it.
But definitely it makes it harder in the short-term to win. I think winning majors makes it easier to win majors in the long-term because you've done it before. When you immediately go back to defend any tournament, there is a little bit more spotlight and highlight on you. That can be a distraction. It's harder to maybe do your own thing and stay out of the limelight. As I said, these majors can be very long weeks. It can be difficult.
It's tough to lead a major from Thursday onwards because there's extra stresses with that, whereas a defending champion is being put under that stress from the time he arrives on Monday. People are asking him is he going to win, whereas in a regular event, most people don't think about who is going to win until Saturday evening. Certainly there isn't too much stress about it. Whereas I go back to the PGA, the Open Championship this year, right from Monday onwards I'll have questions about how am I playing, how do I think it's going, do I think I can defend.
I will try and focus on doing my own things. These are a little bit distractions, but they're good distractions. They're there and I'm going to embrace them rather than fight them, let's say.
Q. I wondered if you prepared for next week's major and if you've been there, what about the 10th hole, how do you play that thing?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I haven't done anything. Obviously I played the last time at Bethpage and had a reasonably good run that week. I think it was my first time, Saturday, the last group of a major. It was all part of the building process.
I haven't done anything out of the ordinary this year. I haven't gone to see it. I prepared for this major like I would for all other majors, as I'm concentrating on getting my buildup right. I do expect to be ready to go when I get there. Thursday week I have to be ready, and I do expect to be ready.
The golf course itself, the 10th hole, I didn't find too much issue with the 10th hole the last time at all. Actually, the 12th, as well. I was comfortably carrying that the last time. I don't know how it's going to be this time. I believe that the weather is going to be good for the week. I don't think any player is going to have an issue. The issue the last time was the weather was bad. As I mentioned earlier, when the weather turns down, you get a bit of a dampness in the air, these current golf balls and drivers, we can all hit them over 300 yards on a sunny day, it does pare back a lot on a wet, miserable day. I think that's what happened last time on the Friday. Only a couple of the shorter hitters struggled to reach the fairways on 10 on Friday. It was a big advantage to me last time.
It didn't pose a problem for me. I was comfortably getting out there. On the Friday I think I shot the low score of the day. Didn't pose a problem. Hopefully it will be the same for everybody else this time around. You know, if it's somebody else that is struggling, it's to your advantage.
Q. Do you see the three major championships (in America) all becoming more and more alike?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, very much so. Very much so. Maybe when I first started playing them in '97, you could distinctly say there was a difference. Certainly the U.S. Open, the US PGA, you can interchange them some years. Sometimes they play the same courses, they have done. They've become, especially the last four or five years, good, strong, fair tests. The players in general over the last four years would rave about every course they turned up to for a major, where maybe from 2000 onwards, there was an issue, players would say this course is set up too hard, the rough was too heavy, it was dangerous, or too tight.
But I think a balance has been struck. The golf courses we're finding are real strong, solid tests. As I said, the fact they're being set up so well, both the U.S. Open and the PGA, means it's hard to distinguish who is setting them up each time.
In '97, the PGA would have been considered more like -- the setup was more like the regular setup on the TOUR. The U.S. Open was considered at that time they were setting up some really brutally tough courses. But what's happened I think is both of them have moved now -- I suppose the PGA have probably kept to their rule really. They set up what has been always what is known to be a quite fair golf course, and probably at times could have been accused of listening to the players too much. But now I think the U.S. Open probably they've set up some very fair golf courses over the last few years that everybody has enjoyed.
So probably the U.S. Open has moved to be more like the PGA, and the PGA has stuck to their guns over the last 10 years, using good, fair, solid courses.
Q. Padraig, you mentioned how weeks at majors get toned down. When you come to places in a country where you otherwise wouldn't get to but every seven years, do you get any sense of where you're at for the week, a sense of place? Other than remembering that you almost got your head pulled off by your physical therapist, what kind of memories do you have of Minnesota?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The biggest memory I have of Minnesota is I played the Walker Cup there in 1993. That is probably the one time I got to see a little bit of the city and that.
When you go back for a major, yeah, it is very much lockdown for the week. You don't see a huge amount going on. But definitely, as I said, I've had good memories of Minnesota. My wife could tell you all about the shopping malls, if you like, the Mall of America.
Q. It's bigger than Ireland.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The Mall of America, am I correct?
Q. The Mall of America.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: See, I know these things (laughter).
So, yeah, you know, at times you see things. But I don't expect it's going to happen much at the major. I will spend my off time, as much as I -- I will be doing two things in my off time: resting and just playing with my kids, just getting away from it. That will be it. I won't spend a huge amount of time out seeing the sights. It's too much of a drain that week.
Q. Talk about your game now. You've not played quite as well as you'd like, I'm assuming. What can you do or what are you going to do to kind of snap out of that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, you know, it's all about the process in my world. And definitely, you know, over the last couple years I've been trying to get to the bottom of my swing. Since I won the two majors last year, I got a little bit deeper into it, trying to figure something out, been very much concentrating on that for the last eight months. As I said, for about two and a half years I've been tinkering with it, but certainly the last eight months I've been heavily focused on it.
Obviously, when you see results, the results have been quite lean certainly in the last five months, I've got to get back to working on my scoring. I'm comfortable with what I've been doing technically. While I haven't got it in my swing like I would want it, I'm comfortable what it is and what I need to do to sort it out. That kind of can be put a little bit on the back boiler there. I can concentrate back on my scoring, just getting myself ready for these tournaments, making sure my short game, which is my strength, is as sharp as ever.
Sometimes when you work on your weaknesses, your strengths do get weak a little. I'm right back on track. I'm very comfortable with what I did and where I'm going.
Obviously I'd like to turn around as quick as possible. I'm doing the right things. I've got to stay patient. I've got to be accepting of this. I'm very, very comfortable where I am and where I'm going, let's say. I think I'm in a far better position than I was this time last year, or even this time at the end of August last year. I just won two majors. I think I'm a far better player now than I was then.
Obviously, I just have got to be patient and let it happen and wait for the results, which ultimately are the judge to turn around. As I said, as a player, sometimes you've got to go by order of things to judge where you're going in your game and not necessarily short-term results.
As I said, the next three months, I've got three majors in just over two and a half months now, and that is going to distinguish what sort of year I've had, getting ready to play them.
JULIUS MASON: That looks like it's the conclusion of our news conference, ladies and gentlemen. A big thank you to the distinguished members at the head of our table for joining us, and a big thank you to Minnesota and Hazeltine National Golf Club for your hospitality. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.
End of FastScripts