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An Interview with McGinley & Harrington

September 18, 2004

JULIUS MASON: Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley, ladies and gentlemen, starting with you, Padraig, first, some thoughts on your afternoon match, please.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously we're thrilled. It was a tough game for me going out. I was a bit flat from the morning. I had missed a few putts in the morning match, just wasn't -- just was flat going out. We started off badly and Davis had played so well in the morning, we're playing Davis, we're playing Tiger and I didn't really see a way out of it. Walking off the second green, Paul said, "You know, let's play the golf course, let's stop playing the two guys, you know, let's concentrate on our own ball like it's a U.S. Open and try to shoot under par."

When we finished it off on 14 or 15, it was to get us back to 1-under par for the round. You know, it was as Paul said, "Let's shoot under par" and it did the job.


PAUL McGINLEY: First time in his life he's ever listened to me. (Laughter.) We've been pals for 20 years and it's the first time he's ever paid heed to me.

We're obviously thrilled, Tiger and Davis are two of the strongest players in the world. And to beat them was a great day for Ireland. But let's not forget, this is a European Team. There's two English lads this morning who changed the whole momentum of the morning for us, David Howell and Paul Casey. What they did changed to a large extent -- we looked like losing four-nil this morning at one stage and to come out of this morning's series of matches with 1 1/2 points in terms of winning the Ryder Cup was massive.

We still have a long way to go. We have a long battle ahead tomorrow but it could have been very ugly for us as a European Team this morning and they certainly bailed us out.

You could see the way the European Team started the afternoon, the momentum that we got from those guys winning this morning was huge. This is very much a European Team.

Q. The fact that the guys that went out this morning and turned it around are rookies and your veteran leadership pretty much did it for you yesterday, but two rookies went out there and did that, what does that say to you about the depth of this squad?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think we knew all along that the rookies that we brought in here are very strong and capable players in their own right and very confident.

I think we said coming into the week, this is a different team; that the 12 players on the team have a fairly similar standard. Bernhard's problem in practice was trying to figure out who to leave out because everybody seemed to be playing well, and that included the rookies. You know, getting into the team they all showed their metal and they are very capable and I think the rest of us who had played on the team before had confidence in the lads and their performance.

Q. Can you please describe which part Bernhard Langer is playing in this theatre piece.

PAUL McGINLEY: I mean, he's obviously a very, very well organized and structured individual, so there's nothing left to chance.

I think where we've gained a lot of benefit from him is his presence on the golf course. His course strategy, you know the way you often read a book to say that you get an average player and you put Jack Nicklaus' head on his shoulder how good of a player would that guy be. It's a little bit like that this week with Bernhard. He's given us advice about course management and club selection and pin position all the way around. That certainly is a big help. He's got a strong team. 1 to 12, I feel we are a strong team. It makes his job difficult in one way but easier in the other in terms of picking pairings, because he's not -- he's not picking guys who he thinks are weak on the team. So, I think he's done well.

Everybody's played at least one game going into the singles tomorrow and we've got one more round to go and we're very much aware that this Ryder Cup is not won yet. We have a great lead, that's wonderful, but the American team is not beaten yet.

Q. Can you gentlemen, simple question, can you account for why you have such a big lead, and are you surprised by it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I think coming out the first day, we gained momentum in the morning and took it through all day. You know, that could be just a matter of breaks. Obviously, we were very up for it on Friday morning, but as I said, a couple of good breaks and we fed off and kept the momentum.

This morning, we expected the U.S. Team to come out very strong, which they did. But as I said, that one match, the Casey/Howell comeback there to win the last two holes in the manner that they did, when you bear in mind that all of the players are sitting in the team room watching on TV, so as much of a momentum swing toward us it was, obviously the U.S. players obviously were watching the same thing on their TVs. They looked like they are winning four points and all of a sudden they only got a point out of the session.

It has gone a lot with momentum this week. That's the only reason we are here with the lead we have is that we have gained the momentum and obviously stopped any comeback this morning and kept it going. So there's not a huge difference between, you know, I think we have a 6-point lead and the U.S. Team, you know, being up there as well. It's just that we got going and it kept going.

Q. How does a lead this large shape the Sunday strategy on each side?

PAUL McGINLEY: We can't give away the team strategy yet. The teams haven't gone in.

It's kind of hard to answer that question because the teams haven't gone in yet. I know Bernhard is doing it at the moment. We already had a team meeting and we discussed a few things, but obviously I can't discuss things before the teams are released.

Q. That was a great win, but why do you think Tiger's got such a wretched record in the Ryder Cup?

PAUL McGINLEY: It's very hard to say. I've got a small view on it, and I think you've got some of the greatest players in the world here this week. My view is, that over 18 holes, at this level of golf, it's like a sprint. And anybody can be beaten over 18 holes.

I think if every game was over four rounds, five round, certainly Tiger, being No. 1, being No. 2 now in the world would have a distinct advantage.

But when it's a sprint like it is, anything can happen. To a large extent, I don't think it's because Tiger has played badly. I think a lot of people raise their games playing Tiger. We realize it's a sprint situation. You know, we've got a much better chance than if it was four rounds over a U.S. Open-style golf course or a Tour course or whatever the case may be.

Q. If this margin holds up and this is four wins in the last five for the Europeans what inferences can be drawn about the quality of play in Europe versus the quality of play in the U.S.? And sort of couch that in terms of disappointments in the majors, as well.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's a hard one to answer. You know, I've certainly been saying for a while that I feel that the depth in Europe has been growing. We haven't had the stars maybe in the last couple of years that were winning majors, but the young guys coming through are very strong.

I think we are showing that at times, that we have a little bit of depth and players who are known, not that we pay much attention to some of the TV reporting but they were kind of saying about David Howell, like who is he? David is a good player, we knew David was a solid player and would produce the goods today. It's just that we do have depth in Europe.

We are still missing the guys winning the majors and we are still putting ourselves under a lot of pressures to follow in the footsteps of the Faldos, the Seves and the Bernhards. We had so many great players in the 70s, 80s and 90s. There's a whole continent of pressure on us when we turn up at a major and obviously we are not performing in the majors.

But give us time. There's plenty of players, plenty of depth there, it will happen.

Q. You mentioned that you guys have benefitted having Bernhard on your shoulder in terms of course management out there. Have either of you guys got a specific example of some advice that he has given you that made a big difference either yesterday or today?

PAUL McGINLEY: Padraig can answer that question better.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well I did get reprimanded for hitting 3-wood in the water on the first, the third hole on the first day that's one piece of advice I've got.

All of the par 3s he's come up, told me the club to play, the place to hit it, why to hit it there. He's gone through the whole thing and as I said, explained the shape, everything about it on every par 3 I've played this week, in the foursomes and in the four-ball. But all of the par 3 shots, particularly, he's been right there describing exactly what was needed.

Sometimes that's, you know, obviously he says it in a nice way, because obviously when somebody nominates the shot for you it can be difficult. But it's very calm, cool and collected when he's saying it. It's not like he's telling you to do it, but he's definitely advising you.

Q. What have you to say about the support that the two of you had and who is the guy in the orange wig?

PAUL McGINLEY: He's my caddie's father. My caddie's girlfriend was bumped off the plane to put him on. (Laughter.) But he didn't come on dressed like that.

It's funny, he's had two or three girls come up to him this week and give him a card, so he's been lucky. He's a real character. He's obviously a passionate Irishman. Tony Reynolds is his name. It's great to have. You know, it was great to have the Irish support out there. We have massive support from everybody, but let's not forget this is a European team. What the two English lads did this morning has really swung things back in our favor, which was looking like a four-nil drumming at one stage this morning and that was huge. Of course there's two Irishmen out there today and we have a lot of Irish support, but this is very much a European Team.

JULIUS MASON: Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley, thank you very much.

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