It’s been a while since he was No 1 on the course but Padraig Harrington is miles ahead of the rest when it comes to performing in the press tent.
Something of a stand up these days, the Dubliner has the Americans eating out of his hand. It’s no surprise really after another phenomenal performance in the media centre on the eve of the BWM Championship at Cog Hill in Chicago.
Denied for the fourth week in a row in Boston (the last time he had four successive top-10s was his rookie season of 1996) he’s so close to winning again that his accountant’s nose can almost smell the $10m FedExCup cash.
Seventh in the rankings entering the third leg of the play-offs, the ideal scenario this week would be to play well enough to move into the top 5. That way, a win in the Tour Championship in Atlanta would guarantee that he takes the FedExCup moolah as well as the $.135m tournament prize money - total take home pay for the four weeks - the obscene sum of $11.35m (€7.77m or £6.8m).
The press conference touched on everything- his fear that a bad day could burst his FedExCup balloon, why Tiger won’t play two in a row before a major again (and why he might copy him), why Steve Stricker’s personality makes him a threat to Woods and why he’d like to see a wheelbarrow full of cash on the 18th at East Lake.
Then there the plans by his practical joker friend - he of the Jaws theme - to put red stakes around the swimming pool when he stays with him during next months’ Portugal Masters.
On adrenaline: The key for me would be to stay in contention. If I drop out of contention, I could see a dropoff then of the intensity and the adrenaline, and the chance of winning would keep me going. If I lose that sort of thing, I could see myself dropping away and not having the mental strength to fight on, let's say.
On Tiger before the majors: As professionals, we can pretty much turn up and play a regular event, finish middle of the pack, even have a good day on Sunday and finish well up. But if we're not winning the tournament or in contention, we're not stressed. .... I'm only surmising here, but I'd be very surprised to ever see Tiger Woods play two events into a major again.
On the Play-Offs: Whoever plays the best in the FedExCup Series should win the FedExCup. That's really what it should be. You know, you do want to see a few casualties. That's what TV is about; you've got to see a few guys knocked out, like I was knocked out last year. At least it gave a little bit of debate to the FedExCup, which is a good thing. You need some marquee names to miss out in order to make it exciting.
Even for him, who is probably the most familiar golfer in the game with winning, even for him, having two weeks of winning, took that out of him on a Sunday in a major when you need to be 100 percent on top of your game. I've had four weeks where I haven't won but I still had that sort of intensity and pressure. So on one hand I'm losing a little bit in terms of fatigue, but I'm still motivated because I haven't won. If I had won over the last couple of weeks like when I won my majors last year and things, I'd have a big dropoff straightaway. What's keeping me going is the fact that I haven't won. I'm pushing hard and I'm focused to do that, and in many ways I'm on the edge in that sense. I could definitely see a win making me totally drop back off. But until I get that win, I think I'll be going hard after it.
On wheelbarrow time and the chance to win $11.35m: I do believe they should give out the cash on the 18th green. Just sit it there just to have a good look at it. It would be great, like the World Series of Poker. We could take it in a wheelbarrow up to the clubhouse. Anything that falls out, it's the caddie's. Q. You mentioned money falling out of a wheelbarrow for the caddies. There's a lot of bonus money out there. How should the caddies -- if any, what percentage of that pile do you think they should get? If you won $10 million. PADRAIG HARRINGTON: My caddie gets full percentage.
On beating Tiger: What's great about Steve Stricker is he's trying to be Steve Stricker. He's going to try and beat Tiger Woods by playing Steve Stricker's golf. He's not going to go out there and try and play Tiger's game, and that's very important to distinguish those two things. If you try and match yourself up to anybody -- I would have had this issue when I first came out on the European Tour. I wanted to play like Monty, but the only way of beating Monty was to play Padraig Harrington's game. Steve has realized that he's got to stick to his game, and that's why he's performing as well as he is. Jim Furyk is superb at doing it, as well. There's plenty of guys out there who are excellent at playing their own game.
On his future warm up for Majors: I've always said that two in a row is an ideal warm-up going into a major. If I'm in contention at those two events, it's not ideal. What I've tended to do in the past is the very first of those two events has been very much nearly getting to know my swing again and getting to know my game, and the second week I've been getting into it more and then the major. But if I have a little bit more discipline I could go down the line of maybe just having one-tournament warmup. I'd have to be a better player to do it, but I think that's certainly a distinct consideration if not a possibility next year.
On his erstwhile “friend”: My friend at the moment, one particular friend, he sent me the theme tune to "Jaws," music to stay out of the water. Then he sent me a ball retriever for retrieving balls from water hazards. Then he's invited me to stay at his house in Portugal for the Portuguese Masters coming up, and he said he'll put red stakes around the swimming pool just to make me feel at home.
On the twin imposters: I'm quite comfortable with putting myself on the line. I know I'm going to mess up some days, but the days I don't mess up, they're great, and I'm quite happy -- I've got three majors in the bag the days I didn't mess up. Other days I mess up, but every day I'm learning, every day I improve, and the fact that I can accept those days -- you know, it hurts. I can tell you what, I had a great chance of winning last week. It hurts. I had a great chance of winning in Akron; it hurt. I had a great chance at the PGA. I look back at that and go, wow. They all hurt. But if you don't put yourself there -- I could hide in the pack and shoot 66 the last day and finish 5th and everybody would say, well, nice week. But I ain't going to win the tournament there. Unless you put yourself out there, and even if you do put yourself out there, if you put your neck on the line it gets chopped off every now and again. If you don't want that, you're not going to win as many tournaments as you can.