Questions For Padraig Harrington

The Irishman capped a dramatic comeback with an eagle at 18 to win at Westchester, then chatted about long putts and smiles
July 03, 2005

SI: Tell us about your 65-foot putt for eagle on the 72nd hole to win the tournament.

PH: I had a very similar putt to win the Irish PGA Championship last year, and I rolled that putt stone dead. It was the same here, up and over, left to right, right to left, so there were two different breaks on the putt. I hit the putt pure, and it looked great. It was very nice.

SI: Down the stretch there were a lot of Irishmen at Westchester Country Club chanting, "Olé, olé, olé, olé!" Did that make it feel like a home game?

PH: It definitely makes you step back and say, "Oh, you've done something right here. You've done something special."

SI: What's it like playing in New York?

PH: I love playing in New York. In 2002 [the U.S. Open] at Bethpage was my first real experience with the New York fans. There's a buzz around the course. There's atmosphere. It adds to the tournaments for me.

SI: Your 72-year-old father, Paddy, is battling esophageal cancer back in Ireland. What do you think this win will mean to him?

PH: He's definitely on a high right now. It was televised live back home, so I knew that he was watching. It's funny, two days after my last win [at the Honda Classic] we found out that his cancer had come back. I'm sure he's glad he hung around this long.

SI: You double-bogeyed the 3rd hole on Sunday to fall three shots off the lead. What turned things around?

PH: Sixteen was the big changing point--getting up and down after hitting what I consider my only slack shot of the day [a five-iron on the 198-yard par-3]. To come off that gaining a shot on Jim [Furyk] and be right back in the tournament when I thought I was going to be out of it....

SI: You seemed to smile throughout the day. You were grinning even when you had the double bogey on 3 and the bogey on 2. Was that part of a plan?

PH: I'm a strange person--my emotions really dictate how I play. In the past I've been very hard on myself on the course. This week I decided to lighten up a bit and try to enjoy it more.

SI: All things considered, how do you like your chances at the British Open?

PH: As the putt on 18 proves, anything can happen.

SI: WERE YOU TRYING TO MAKE THAT PUTT?

PH: NO, NO. TRYING TO TWO-PUTT, TRYING TO GET IT DOWN THERE CLOSE. I'M A TOTAL REALIST IN THESE SITUATIONS.

--Farrell Evans and ASAP Sports

KEY STAT

68%

Increase in the TV ratings for the 2005 U.S. Women's Open over the 2004 broadcast.

COLOR PHOTOANDREW GOMBERT/EPA (HARRINGTON) FATHER'S DAY Hours after his victory, Harrington flew home to see his ailing dad.