Interview with Padraig Harrington at Barclays Singapore Open Roadshow
Q. How do you feel to be back in Singapore?
It’s good to be back in Singapore. Last night I was able to sit outside and eat. Coming from Ireland it’s always nice to be able to sit outside and eat. You don’t get that too often in Ireland. You’re normally wrapped around the fire or something like that. I went to an Asian restaurant in a museum outside the Fullerton just across the road here it was really good I would recommend it. It’s best to eat the local cuisine, there are really nice restaurants so it’s not great when you travel this far and eat a burger and chips. So, we stick to the local foods.
Q. You seem to be coming back into form, are you confident about this week?
I won, well 3-4 weeks ago now, just across the road in Johor, in Malaysia, so the form is good. Looking forward to this week and working on the sensible things like my routine and the mental side of the game. And if I hold the putts I’ll be competing on Sunday
Q. What did it mean to be a part of a winning Ryder Cup team this year?
It is very special to be part of a winning Ryder Cup team. I’ve played 6 now with 4 wins. But each one of them is different. We lost in 2008 but it was nice to come back and win in 2010. It’s so exciting because we’re so used to playing as individuals and when you’re in a team it puts you under more pressure. But on the upside it’s far more rewarding when the team wins.
Q. Where will you be headed after this Roadshow?
I’m going to head back to the course and play another 9-holes. I played 9-holes this morning and I’ll play another 9-holes this afternoon now. It’s very important to have a practice round on the course and become familiar with it. While we do play the main course three times, you don’t want to give away any shots by not knowing the second course so it’s important to get your practice round in there as well.
Q. What do you think of this year’s Barclays Singapore Open?
Barclays have always run a good event, they’ve always run a great event. Every year they’ve made it better and better. They’ve increased the prize funds. It’s different now with 36 holes. They’ve always made sure that this is one of the best events, the golf course is excellent. The condition of it is top class. Certainly, some of the best greens we play in all year. So, Barclays really do a topclass job in running an event that you wouldn’t ask for anymore in.
Q. What do you think of the different conditions in Singapore in comparison to Europe?
I actually particularly like the grasses in Singapore. I like the weather in Asia. I have no problems with the heat. I have good discipline in terms of what I eat and drink so I don’t get dehydrated. I don’t find it uncomfortable. I find the grass is a big advantage to me. I love putting on these greens. And fairways wise, I love hitting off them. I wish I could play in these conditions all the time. It’s very much the case that when I come to Asia I feel very at home in the conditions
Q. What would you say is the secret to playing the Serapong course well?
It’s definitely precision off the tee and then good iron control. There’s a lot of tee shots where you have to hit off it into a collection area. So you might hit three wood sometimes driver. All tournaments you want to putt well and after that you want to hit your irons well here.
Q. Can you tell us more about working with the Special Olympics?
I’m an ambassador for the Special Olympics so as I move around the world I promote their goals. I do that by doing a number of clinics at tournaments like I will be doing this week. They bring in some of the Special Olympics athletes which is nice because they are so enthusiastic. I always feel like I’m getting more out of it than I’m giving. My own foundation at home in Ireland does slightly different stuff internally. I’m also an ambassador for suicide prevention in Ireland and for the Make A Wish Foundation. By being an ambassador for the Special Olympics I can highlight the need to raise funds. If you have a chance to come down to the clinic this week, you will see how these athletes are just the most enthusiastic people and love what they are doing. It certainly gives me a buzz to be around them.
Q. What are your thoughts on more tournaments in Asia increasing their prize funds?
At the moment the big events all need at least 6 million dollars in prize money to attract the big players to them. What we want to do as players is to come to each geographical region and play three events. You know it’s a long way to come to an area just for 1 week. The fact that there was a big event the last weeks in Asia, helps the players who want to come to this event they feel they can travel here for three weeks. It’s a long way with the jet lag. It’s good to have a run of substantial events. Now with global markets, all tours are competing with each other. In order to have a world-class event like Barclays want this week, they have to be competitive with their prize fund which it obviously is. It’s right up there and that’s why you have the players turning up to play.
Q. What do you think of the CBD area of Singapore?
It’s always a great city to come to because it’s very easy to get around and there’s many places to enjoy and eat. It’s one of the events where we get to stay in the city. Generally, we stay outside of the city and we don’t get to see much of it. Here, we get to stay in the city, the golf course is not that far away so it’s probably one of our better events in that sense.
Q. Are you looking to win the Barclays Singapore Open?
I’m looking to win. If you don’t win, there’s other things. But on a Thursday morning I’m teeing up, hoping to win.