Money, movies and motivations - Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry tell Paul Kimmage about life on tour
They play for sums of money beyond our wildest dreams. This week they're in Hollywood, on Sunset Boulevard. The best hotels, the finest food, their every whim catered for. But there's a price for everything.
Ten days ago, on the evening after the opening round of the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, I was sitting in the media centre perusing the news when I was drawn to a column by the always brilliant Michael Bamberger on Golf.com: 'Dear Rory: In an intimate series of emails, Rory McIlroy reflects on love, life and happiness.'
Having devoted a chunk of my January to 16,000 words on Rory, I wasn't expecting to be surprised or to be sending any texts. But I was, and I did: 'Michael, sometimes - most times actually - it's the questions not the answers. Your email exchange with Rory had both. Loved it.'
The questions were great: How are you feeling? Are you watching golf on TV? What did you make of the Super Bowl? What did you think of Lady Gaga? Do you believe that golf undresses a man?
How have your feelings for the game changed as you've gone from boy to man, and from amateur to professional?
Since turning pro, what new person in your life has made the biggest impact on your on-course life? And your off-course life?
When and where have you been happiest on a golf course when you were not playing in a professional tournament? What was it that made the occasion so special?
I had spent the day following Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington at Pebble.
They had left Ireland for San Diego on January 22 and it was their third tournament on the road. Harrington was struggling with a trapped nerve in his neck and had missed two cuts; Lowry was playing solidly and had earned $126,351.
I interviewed Shane last year, and interview Padraig almost every year, but had never sat them down together. And Bamberger's column had planted a seed: 'It doesn't have to be about golf.' I sent them a text that night - a question Michael had asked Rory - and scheduled an interview the following morning on the range.
They were practising side-by-side: Harrington with his caddie, Ronan Flood, and Lowry with his caddie, Dermot Byrne.
"What do you want to talk about?" Lowry inquired.
"Life on the road," I replied.
"I'll just let Padraig do the talking," he grinned.
"I don't think you'll have much choice," Flood laughed.
Four days later we met in Los Angeles.
Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are white and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and the land is cheap. Every working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a happy all-American family. You can have all this, and who knows . . . you could even be discovered, become a movie star . . . or at least see one. Life is good in Los Angeles - it's paradise on Earth. Ha ha ha ha. That's what they tell you, anyway.
Paul Kimmage: Okay, thanks for doing this guys. I'm going to start with something a little different. (I plug my phone into a speaker.)
Padraig Harrington (laughs): He's going to play music for us.
PK: No, just a couple of lines from a song. Are you ready? (A piano fills the room. A man is singing.)
City of Stars,
Are you shining just for me?
City of Stars,
There's so much that I can't see . . .
Shane Lowry: This is about LA, is it?
PH: I dunno.
SL: City of Stars?
SL: Who sings that?
PK: Ryan Gosling.
PH: Oh! It's from La La Land.
PH: I haven't seen it.
PK: That was the question.
PH: No, my wife has seen it.
SL: I actually wanted to go and see it. Wendy (his wife) has seen it.
PH: We're not going together!
PH: I went to The Founder last night.
PK: What's that about?
PH: The guy who set up the franchise to McDonald's - he took it from the McDonald brothers and set the franchise up. Michael Keaton plays him. So that would be as serious a movie as I'd want to see. I'm happy to go to 'shoot-em-uppers' and that sort of stuff, but nothing too serious.
PK: What's a 'shoot-em-upper'?
PH: A James Bond movie or something like that.
PK: Reservoir Dogs?
PH: That was the worst movie I ever saw.
PK: There was a lot of shooting in it.
PH: Well, one guy bled to death.
PK: Yeah, it was gruesome.
PH: It was exceptionally gruesome. I found it hard. They cut this guy's ear off and for the whole movie he's bleeding to death. Have you seen it, Shane?
SL: No, I don't watch movies
PK: At all?
SL: I'd go occasionally with Wendy. I watch them on planes. I'll probably watch La La Land on a plane at some stage.
PH: It's never good to see a movie on an airplane, you never really get the full effect of it. Never watch a move you want to see on a plane - they're okay for average movies.
SL: I went to see Twelve Years a Slave.
PH: I didn't go to that.
SL: It was a tough movie to watch.
PH: Yeah, that's why I didn't go. I go to movies for entertainment.
PH: Pretty much always.
SL: Yeah, it was a tough watch. I like true stories, they're the ones that interest me. I'd probably enjoy The Founder.
PH: It was excellent. You know McDonald's feeds one per cent of the population every day?
SL: Of the world?
PH: That's what it said on the screen, but I'm a bit of a disbeliever. I mean, if they said it was .001 per cent, maybe. But one per cent?
SL: What's the population of the world?
PH: It must be getting close to nearly eight?
PH: Yeah, it was 7.2 a while ago, so . . .
SL: So 800 million people eat in McDonald's every day!
PH: Yeah, that's what they're saying.
PK: Padraig, I would have bet my life that you'd seen La La Land.
PH: No, I'd have gone with Caroline but not on my own.
SL: What's it about?
PH: It's a musical.
SL: I like musicals.
PH: I like musicals but I'd prefer if it came from a show that I'd seen. I saw Rock of Ages with Tom Cruise - he was great in that movie but it was panned. That's another thing - the critics have no idea what I like, that's for sure.
PK: I remember telling you to see American Beauty once and you wouldn't hear of it.
PH: I did see it!
PH: I wouldn't put it down as my favourite movie but . . . they made a movie about the police in LA three or four years ago. Ryan Gosling might have been in it? It was four stories all interacting with each other
PK: I know what that was, Traffic.
PH: No, that was about the drugs and Mexico.
PH: Yeah, that's it. I found that harrowing.
PK: Matt Dillon is the cop. Do you remember that scene where he pulls the woman out of the car?
PH: Yeah. That was harrowing. The whole movie was harrowing. I don't want to be confronted with reality when I'm at the movies, I want to be entertained. That was tough going.
PK: What about music? The Grammys were on here last night.
SL: I watched a bit of it on TV.
PK: Do you bring music away with you?
SL: Yeah, I've one of those (mobile) speakers and I have Spotify. I've a playlist of about 25 songs I've made during the last two weeks.
PK: What are you listening to?
SL: It's a strange old mix: The Coronas, Ed Sheeran . . . We went to see Flo Rida in Phoenix, so I've a bit of him. The Dubliners, Christy Moore, Calvin Harris . . .
PH: Jaysus! Flo Rida and the Dubliners on the same playlist! That's something.
PK: Are you a music lover, Padraig?
PH: I have a few things on my phone, but here's the interesting thing - I can't listen to an album, even one I like. I don't want to know what's coming next.
SL: You like a bit of shuffle?
PH: Yeah, or the radio. I struggle with the concept of knowing what's coming next. We'll have satellite radio in the car this week and you can choose your genre. Or I'll put on one of the local stations, just to have a bit of interaction. I like the DJ coming in. I like the idea that something different is going to happen.
SL: If I'm listening (to an album) and I don't like what's coming next I normally skip.
PH: Yes, that's what I'm saying. I'm just looking (at my phone) here at what I've listened to lately: Imagine Dragons, U2, Queen . . .
PK: What U2 song?
PH: I have all the U2 albums but Beautiful Day is my favourite song.
PK: When do you play music? Is it to feel good? Do you use it as a motivator? Is it important to you?
SL: You don't have a song in your head for the day?
SL: I do.
PH: So you listen to music before you go out (to play)?
SL: I'd do it to perk me up. I might listen to 20 songs and something will stick in my head.
PK: You've spent almost four weeks on the road now. What do you miss most about home?
SL: Well, this stint is a bit different for me because Wendy is due (their first child) this day two weeks, so it was harder to leave this time. I was talking to my ma last night on the phone and she said 'I was hoping you were going to finish top five this week (in Pebble) and say 'I'll just go home'.' She hates Wendy being on her own at this time, and me being away. I said: 'Ma, it's fine - honestly, it's fine. I'm playing good golf. I'm happy. Wendy's OK, she'll be fine.' And Facetime and stuff makes it easier. What do I miss most? That would probably be it for me.
PH: Going away is hard but it's all my family have ever known - and when I'm at home, I'm there full-time. Paddy (the elder of his two boys) was playing a game in Limerick just before I came away - a two-and-a-quarter-hour drive - but there was no question I wasn't going to go down and watch that game. Ciaran had a game at nine on Sunday morning - again, a 45-minute drive - but there was no way I wasn't going. So when I'm at home, I can do everything. And I want to do everything.
SL: People say, 'It must be hard being on the road all the time'. Well, I played 26 tournaments last year, and 23 the year before, so I'm actually home more than I'm away, or it's 50-50 like last year. And when you're home you can do whatever you want - you've no one to answer to.
PH: I think we have the best of both worlds.
PK: How aware are you of the news and what's going on?
PH: I'm very aware of the news. I log on every day to the (Irish) Independent and the Irish Times, and the BBC website is great.
SL: I wouldn't be aware of that much being perfectly honest.
PH: I think it helps you relate and talk more when you ring home. Who wants to talk about the weather? You have to have some idea about what's going on. And I'd be interested. I'm reading about the (Maurice) McCabe story at the moment.
SL: I'd have no idea about that.
PH: I don't follow much here. It wouldn't be a question of, 'Yeah, I'll keep up to date with Trump'. I only read the Irish news about America.
SL: I just keep up to date with sport back home.
PK: Eamon Dunphy said recently that sportsmen should be more vocal.
SL: About current affairs?
PK: Yeah. He believes they should take a stand.
PH: I disagree.
PK: Feel free.
PH: I'm going to counter that right now. I remember going on Tubridy - it might have been 2010. They were running a (Christmas) Toy Appeal, I think it was in Arnotts, and were bringing in celebrities. So I went on and sat down and was chatting away when Gerry Adams came in. It wasn't planned. He just happened to be walking by at the time and he sat down, and we had been having a casual conversation but it's now a casual conversation with political undertones.
PK: This is live on air?
PH: Yeah, this is live.
SL: And you had to talk about politics?
PH: No, I didn't have to talk about it. I clearly wouldn't agree with . . . well, I'm not going to give my political agenda, but the point I'm trying to make is this - because I have the ability to hit a little white golf ball I get this big soapbox to stand on. But I don't have to use it, and I don't believe I should. There are professors and educated people qualified to do that. They should be given the soapbox, not me. But the problem is that the sportsperson will be listened to.
SL: And it will make a headline.
PK: I accept that you don't feel informed enough to give an opinion but . . .
PH: Never have you got me more wrong. I love talking politics. I feel really informed to give my opinion when I'm sitting at the table.
PK: So why not do it in public?
PH: Well, as I've said, I don't believe my ability to hit a golf ball gives me a mandate to do it publicly. I think it's wrong in society that we look to people who are not qualified to give opinions.
PK: But you recognise there are wrongs in society?
PH: Yeah, and I love talking about it.
PK: What are you going to do about it?
PH: I don't think it's my position.
PK: But if you don't stand for something you stand for nothing.
PH: How will it make it better if I take newspaper space away from the people who are qualified to deal with it? And I don't think my opinions would be liked. I personally believe in a benevolent dictatorship. I believe we should vote one person in and give him the power to do everything for four years, and get the next guy in if we don't like him. I dislike the situation at home where its parochial politics.
SL: Yeah, you vote for your mate.
PH: And his job depends on his locality - he is elected to make national decisions but he keeps his job by making local decisions. I think we should vote one person in. I don't believe in committees. Committees don't work.
PK: What about injustice and taking a stand? Dunphy refused to play in Chile because of Pinochet's atrocities. He wore a black armband after Bloody Sunday and marched with protesters in London at a time when he was making his living as a footballer.
PH: I didn't know that.
PK: We're here in the land of the free and they've just elected a president who has been very good for golf. He's also a fucking eejit. But I don't hear any golfers saying: 'What this guy is doing is an outrage.' (They laugh)
SL: I just feel my opinion doesn't matter.
PH: It does matter.
SL: I personally don't think I'm educated enough to talk about any stuff like that.
PH: Well, as I've said, the people who are qualified should be given that mandate, not sports people. But it's a difficult one because there's no doubt we have played in countries where there are human rights issues, and I've definitely wrestled with it at times, and legitimised it in my own head - maybe for selfish reasons.
The Colour of Money
Eddie: "Do you smell that?
Vincent: "What? Smoke?"
Carmen: "No, money."
'The Colour of Money'
PK: Okay, you're playing the Genesis Open this week at Riviera - one of America's iconic golf courses on Sunset Boulevard. I've been thinking about where you've come from and I can't make up my mind which is the more unlikely: Shane Lowry on Sunset Boulevard or Padraig Harrington on Sunset Boulevard?
PH: I think we're both the same. We remind ourselves of that constantly.
SL: Yeah, we were talking about this on Friday driving back from dinner at Pebble (Beach): 'Where did it all go wrong?'
PK: What provoked that conversation?
SL: I think it was the house we were staying in last week (a $40m mansion with ocean views).
PH: What provoked it for me was I've been injured for the last couple of weeks and I'm worried about it. My whole life has been built on this (dream) that I could wake up tomorrow morning and find the secret of golf. There's a chance this injury could end that. I could find happiness playing golf at another level but I can't compete at this level with this injury, so it's something that has to be sorted. But I would always be aware of how lucky we are. We're out on the PGA Tour, eating the finest food, great company . . .
SL: For me, it was the company we were keeping as well. You're there with two of Ireland's biggest businessmen (Dermot Desmond and Gerry McManus), people that we get on really well with, and you do think, 'How did I end up here?'
PH: We were saying the same the week before in Phoenix.
SL: That's true.
PH: Everything is prepared for us.
SL: Padraig made a good point in Phoenix - only two NFL teams make up the PGA Tour.
PH: Or four Premiership football teams.
PK: I'm not with you.
PH: What's the roster on a Premiership football team?
PK: Thirty? 40?
SL: That's how small the PGA Tour is. People think, 'I'm going to be on the Tour, I'm going to be on the Tour', but there's only 125 guys teeing it up this week. Do you know what I mean?
PK: Yeah, interesting.
PH: It's a very select group.
PK: I was offered a lift in one of your courtesy cars last week and the first thing that struck me was the waft of the fresh leather upholstery. I thought, 'I wonder do the boys still notice that?'
SL: We get a brand new car every week.
PH: We'd notice a good car.
SL: I think the stint you do in Europe helps you when you come here.
PH: What? To appreciate it?
SL: Yeah, although you'd be well looked after in Europe.
PH: Yeah, I'd get pretty well looked after. I went to a tournament in Japan last year and, while I didn't actually count them, there must have been at least 30 doors in my (suite). I was actually tired of opening doors trying to get to my bedroom.
SL: Well, Carl Pettersson told me when I came out here that the five years he did in Europe really helped him to appreciate what he had out here. But some guys take it for granted.
PH: Some guys take everything for granted. There was a famous one about a player from the north of England about three years ago. He was home (after the season) and was out with some golfers and coaches and he told them he was fed up with the travel, saying: 'I think I'll just get a normal job for 150 grand a year.' That's what he said. This guy is living in the north of England!
SL: Where the average wage is under 20 grand!
PH: And the guy wouldn't be fit for packing shelves!
PK: (laughs) So completely removed from reality?
PH: Completely removed from reality.
PK: Do you become immune to the luxury?
PH: Well, you could argue in my case that I've gone from the penthouse to the . . . I'm middle of the road now.
PK: What does that mean?
PH: Well, obviously when I was a three-time Major winner . . .
SL: You still are.
PH: Yeah, but I'm talking about 2009, when you get plenty of attention for it. I'm back to (being treated like) more of a regular player now.
PK: What's the difference?
PH: Well, it happens more outside of the States when you're getting paid to play. I still get appearance fees but it's not the same figure as it was. And that does puncture your ego - there's nothing like getting a (suite) with 30 doors in it.
PK: Have you had that yet, Shane?
PH: I remember a story I heard a couple of years ago about that million-dollar shoot-out they had in Korea with Annika Sorenstam, Tiger, Monty . . . and there might have been somebody else. There's an official hotel sponsor and Monty insists on having the best room but it has already been given to Tiger, so he walks out and checks into the hotel next door.
SL: I don't care what I do, or what I win, I don't think I'll ever be like that.
PH: I've stayed in small hotels because it suited me. I remember in Italy one year, moving out of the official hotel in Rome and staying it this place that actually had an iron door. But it was five minutes from the course.
SL: Yeah, but you wouldn't stay there now.
PH: No, this was only four or five years ago.
PK: Sorry Padraig, I'm with Shans out and checks into the hotel next door.
SL: I don't care what I do, or what I win, I don't think I'll ever be like that.
PH: I've stayed in small hote on this, that was probably back in 1996.
PH: No, no. What year did (Ian) Poulter win in Rome?
SL: I'll Google it . . . (He takes out his phone) . . . 2000.
PH: Really? That far back?
PH (laughs): It feels like yesterday.
PK: Shane, you say you'll never be like that. How do you know?
SL: Listen, I like nice stuff, and I like staying in nice hotels, but I can't ever see myself doing something like that.
PK: Have there ever been times when, maybe, you lost the run of yourself and had to be corrected?
SL: I can't remember. I don't think so.
PH: I think I would try and correct myself. And I would definitely get corrected by my mother.
PK: Give me an example.
PH: I can't think of a particular incident but I would definitely get corrected at home by my mother, my brothers . . .
SL: Yeah, it's no harm waking up every morning and thinking, 'Do you know what? It's great to be here. I'm waking up in a nice place, in a warm bed, and doing something I love with loads of rewards'.
PH: I would make a conscious effort, for the good of me and my golf, to (stay grounded). You'd be amazed out here the amount of people who get detached from reality.
PK: Isn't a part of that because they are surrounded by people who never say no? Who always tell them what they want to hear?
PH: That's true. There's a culture on Tour of . . .
PK: 'Yes, sir . . . Yes, sir.'
PH: Yeah, everything is provided for you. Everything is free.
SL: Yeah, that is amazing, no matter what you want you can have it for free.
PH: So yeah, it would be easy to get caught up in that and you do have to remind yourself that we're lucky. Another story: we were in Italy last year and the weather was a complete mess and the Tour was scrambling like mad to get us playing. There was a restart at six in the morning and we were warming up in the pitch black in about two inches of water. And a player comes down and says: "What about this shit show? Another fuck-up by the Tour." Those were his exact words.
SL: As if the Tour had done it deliberately.
PH: But fair play to Matt Fitzpatrick. He calls him on it and says: "What do you mean? What could they have done differently?" I had the same incident with a guy complaining that we had only had 15 minutes' notice to go and play. I said: "Do you not want to play? We might get finished." He said: "I do." I said: "Well, what else do you want?" What I'm trying to say is that we're no different to any other workforce. There are always people who will find something wrong with everything, and if you get stuck with those people you'll start doing the same.
SL: Yeah, it's very important who you hang out with.
PH: And people - not players now, but people that follow the game - will always say to you: "It must be tough being out there." I'm sure someone will come up to me (this week) and say: 'Gee whizz, you've missed the last three cuts. It must be very tough.' And I'll look at them and think (smiles), 'Yeah'.
PK: It's great that you have that sense of perspective.
SL: But he's different to other people. I know that if I was sitting here having missed three cuts I'd be pissed off.
PH: I'm not saying I'm not pissed off.
SL: I know that, but you're in better form than I'd be.
PH: Because I make an effort. And as you've offered me this opening I'm going to give out to you.
SL: For what? Getting down on myself?
PH: You teed up on the right side of a tee box (during the third round) last week and hit a bad shot. And you walked over to Dermot and said: "I hate that. I always hit a bad drive." But there are two or three times in every round that you're going to have to tee it up on the right-hand side.
SL: I always tee it up on the left.
PH: I know, but some day you're going to tee it up in a big tournament where you need it on the right-hand side.
SL: Like the 10th at Augusta.
PH: Yeah. So if you keep telling yourself you hate it you're making it harder. And they're the little things. So tee it up a bit more on the right-hand side and if you hit a good drive (think): 'I love it'. And if you hit a bad drive ignore it, but you can't keep beating yourself up. Because it's going to happen. You can't avoid it. It's discipline.
PK: Keep going. What else would you say to him?
PH: We hit some turbulence on the flight down here last night and there was a woman and she was very nervous, gripping the arm rests. So I'm there, making things up and trying to talk her through it.
SL (smiles): He was trying to get her to think positively.
PH: I spent at least 10 minutes trying to calm her down, saying: "Turbulence has never, ever taken a plane down."
SL: And I said: "There's a first time for everything." (They laugh.)
PH: I wanted to strangle him.
PK: I'm interested in money.
SL: Aren't we all?
PK: This is your 21st year on Tour, Padraig. How much have you won?
PH: I have no idea.
PK: Well, according to the PGA and European Tour, you've won $24m in prize money over here, and €24m in Europe.
PH: Some of that is double-counting.
PK: What do you mean?
PH: Some of that money counts for both Tours (the Majors and World Golf Championship events).
SL: So he didn't make 48 million?
PK: So how much then? Thirty?
PH: I would hope its high thirties.
PK: Does that shock you?
PH: I would never have believed I was going to make 30-odd million on the golf course.
PK: Shane, what have you made?
PK: 2.8 million here and 8.9 in Europe.
PH: Close enough, 11.7, but it doesn't work like that.
SL: That's the thing, you're talking about this and someone will think Padraig has 40-odd million in his bank account.
PH (laughs): What about all the sponsorship?
SL: Yeah, well, he probably has more than that but . . . Why are we talking about this?
PK: I'm going to come to that now.
PH: Look, at the end of the day money matters when you don't have it. Bar owning an airplane, I've never had a desire for an expensive lifestyle. So as long as you have enough to do what you want to do it's not . . .
PK: Does money interest you?
PH: It's a measure of performance. I won $600 (in a game) on the golf course on Wednesday - that was more fun than that figure of 48 million.
PK: How is that?
PH: Because it was immediate. What happens last is what gives you happiness in this moment in time.
PK: Jordan Spieth spat the dummy out last week because he suspected that some guys he had given autographs to were going to sell them.
PH: Yeah, I heard that. Everyone has to make a living.
SL: You see those guys around.
PH: Look, we've all had that. And they are going to get them done anyway so I try and get it out of the way. And when Jordan is 80 years of age, he will want someone to ask for his autograph.
SL: Yeah, that's what I say, as soon as someone stops asking you for your autograph you're in trouble.
PH: I think Jordan's issue was that he had limited time to spare. I've seen it happen; you're walking to the tee and you sign something for a guy, and then he goes to the end and tries again, meaning somebody more genuine is going to lose out. That's what's upsetting - when there's a kid or a genuine fan waiting in the line. So I feel for Jordan in that situation, but I thought his language was a little strong - they are not all 'scum'.
SL: Did he say that?
PK: Here's what interests me: Jordan Spieth is going to earn how much this year?
PK: Does it really matter that this guy is going to make $100 on his signature?
PH: No, what mattered to him was that he brushed a kid out of the way. Or took a kid's place. But everyone deserves to make a living, and you're never going to stop them.
PK: How much is enough?
PH: I'm not playing for money.
SL: As long as I can go to the hole in the wall and something comes out, I'm a happy man. That's the way I look at it, genuinely.
PK: Tiger Woods has been out of the game with back problems. He comes back, misses a cut and spends 15 hours flying to a tournament in Dubai when he could easily have played in Phoenix. What's it all about?
SL: He's going for money.
PK: So, how much is enough?
PH: Yeah . . .
SL: There's a price on everything. So he obviously has a figure on what he will take to do that, but I know what you're saying - "He has enough money. He doesn't need any more. Why is he going to Dubai?''
PK: With a bad back.
PH: You could counter that and look at Rory. Rory has a cracked rib, a hairline fracture, and pulled out of Abu Dhabi where he was getting . . . one-and-quarter plus? I'd say one-and-a-quarter (million) was the minimum he was getting. How many people do you know who would turn that down?
SL: You'd play.
PH: Yeah, you'd do whatever you can. So I'm amazed how little money-orientated Rory is.
PK: Exactly, he's answered the question. "How much is enough?' He knows.
PH: He doesn't.
PK: He does.
PH: He's young. He has a future and potential. Tiger Woods is at the other end of the scale. He's thinking, 'I can turn up there and earn millions'. That's his earning stream now. If I was Tiger Woods I would have played; if I had a cracked rib I would have played.
PK: But how much is enough? You've won 48 million and you're going to go out there with a cracked rib to get another one.
PH: Yeah, but I'm just saying . . .
PK: How much is enough?
PH: It's all relative. I've sold my airplane - I don't have enough to fly an airplane - so that would be another level. And it would make my life easier if I had a plane.
SL (laughs): It would make my life easier too.
PH (laughs): You hurry up and win a Major. And don't forget me.
SL: I'll drop you off at the Champions Tour events.
La La Land
Mia: "It's pretty strange that we keep bumping into each other."
Sebastian: "Maybe it means something."
Mia: "I doubt it."
Sebastian: "Yeah, I didn't think so."
'La La Land'
PK: Padraig, I've asked Shane before about when he first became aware of you. When did you first become aware of him?
PH: When I shot three-under par in a howling gale around County Louth (at the Irish Open in 2009) on Friday and thought, 'That was a great score. I've made the cut'. And I'm driving home and the cut line is getting lower and lower and I'm thinking, 'What the hell is happening here?' And I get home and log in . . . 'This lad shot 10 under par! He's an amateur! Who is he?'
PK: So you missed the cut?
PH: Yeah. And then it was, 'Ahh, he'll blow up'.
PH: Of course, amateurs always blow up. Only two or three amateurs have won in Europe. It just doesn't happen. I cursed him out of it, saying 'Who's your man?' And he was fascinating (to me) when he turned pro - he'd do no warm-up and nearly missed a tee time in France. So again it was, 'He's not going to last!' (Laughs)
PK: Shane, you didn't spend a lot of time with Padraig initially?
SL: No, not for a few years. He was over here and I was with . . .
PH: He was getting a good grounding from Peter (Lawrie) and Damien (McGrane) in Europe. People don't realise this but Peter and Damien were the European Tour for the Irish.
SL: Yeah, as long as you stuck with Peter and Damien you were grand. I loved getting home on Sunday night and if you were with Damien and Peter, you always got home on Sunday night. They were great. And Murph (Gary Murphy).
PK: Padraig, you've made the point previously that your friendship with Shane is a selfish thing as well.
PH: Oh, yeah. My life is a lot easier, and a lot more enjoyable here, since Shane has come out. I don't think I could do it over here without having somebody else. Ronan has been that (person) for years, and it's much easier now when Shane is here.
SL: The four of us go out for dinner and it's the best of crack.
PH: For a lot of the Europeans who've come over here and underperformed, it's nearly always because, socially, they've been lonely. The US can be very lonely.
SL: Here's a good example: when Soren Kjeldsen plays in Europe he has 10 Danish guys to go out with every night. Soren came out for dinner with us in San Diego, and I think it was the first time in three weeks he didn't have room service. He was on his own.
PK: It has been said that golf undresses a man. Do you believe that? Does golf show us what a person is really like?
SL: I don't understand.
PH: That if you take a businessman out on the golf course you will find his true character . . . I don't think you see that as a professional.
PH: It does give you an insight, but I've met a lot of pro golfers who I liked on the golf course, and really disliked off it.
SL: And vice versa.
PK: Is the Harrington we see on the golf course the same person as the Harrington we meet off it?
PH: I couldn't tell you the difference.
PK: What would you say, Shane?
SL: Em . . . (He pauses)
PH (laughs): Do I need to leave the room?
SL: No, I think he's pretty similar. He's obviously . . . (He pauses again.)
PH: I obviously do need to leave the room.
SL: No, no, I'm trying to think . . .
PH: You haven't really played with me in a tournament.
SL: No. We played together last week but it's not a normal event . . . You'd be fairly intense on the golf course.
PH: Yeah, I'd have to make a big effort to be (social). I'm working when I'm on the golf course. I would hope when I'm not on the golf course that I'm a bit more relaxed. This is who I am when I'm off the golf course.
PK: So your initial point is true: It doesn't apply to professional golf.
PK: Have your feelings for the game changed as you've gone from boy to man and from amateur to professional?
PH: I've stayed fascinated with it, but I wonder has it changed? I don't think there was a point when . . . I think it's the same now for me as it always was.
SL: But away from tournament golf?
PH: The only way I could describe it is . . . I've found myself in a much nicer place in the last year or two but 10 years ago, when I lost a tournament, on Sunday evening I'd be miserable. But even when I was at my worst, the following day I'd get back on the horse and be enthused and excited about it. And that hasn't changed. So the minute I start practising again all I'm thinking about is the future. And I think that's what I was like as a kid. I never holed a putt to win the Open when I was 12 years of age.
PK: Did you Shane? (He nods.)
PH: I never had that imagination.
SL: I definitely feel it's more of a job now than it was. Just after Christmas, I got a group of friends from home and we went out to play at Esker Hills. There were eight of us and we played four foursomes matches together and it was the best crack ever.
PH: I can think of nothing worse than having to keep a stroke score outside of professional golf.
SL: Yeah, if I'm playing with the lads at home and they try and make me putt out a three-footer I'm like: "C'mon lads! I've to hole enough of these the rest of the year."
PH: That's work.
PK: Rory was asked a couple of these questions last week and he said the happiest he's been on a golf course, outside of a professional tournament, was his first trip to Augusta when he played the course with his dad.
SL: Yeah, that's something I've been thinking about: 'I don't play enough golf with my dad any more'. I used to love that. He's just had his hip done so he can't play for a while, but I've made a conscious decision that I'm going to try to play more with him.
PH: I'd be the same with my brothers - I don't play enough with them, but a lot of that is the conditions at home when we're off.
SL: Listen, if we were living at the Bear's Club in Florida, and we had our shorts and our golf cart and our T-shirts, we'd be out playing every day. But it doesn't work like that in Ireland.
PK: Since you turned professional, what person in your life has made the biggest impact in your life on the course?
SL: There's a few. Neil (Manchip, his coach) has had a huge impact, but I knew him before I went pro. Dermot has been great for me.
PH: Now there's a man that would keep you grounded. . . He's so funny.
SL: Yeah, we always have a great laugh. I'm a bit hard on him sometimes and we fall out but I always say to him: "I'm going to do my best to retire you, Dermo."
PK: What about off the course? What person has made the biggest impact?
SL: Wendy. I went on a bad run just after we started going out but I've played better golf since we met.
SL: We just get on. We're best friends. I'm sure it's the same with your wife. There is no one else I'd rather spend time with.
PK: I put this question to Rory recently. You're earning millions as one of the world's best golfers. How do you meet someone who loves you for who you are?
SL: I suppose it comes down to trust.
PK: You were lucky, Padraig. You met Caroline before you were anybody.
PH: Yeah, and she's only too delighted to remind me: "You weren't even on the junior panel in Ireland. You were at your lowest ebb!" (Laughs)
PK: It was slightly different for you, Shane.
SL: Wendy didn't have a clue who I was. She didn't even know my name.
PH: And I don't think Wendy is too turned by it all, is she?
PH: You can always tell.
PH: You can tell by the attitude.
SL: Wendy is not precious.
PH: Yeah. It's like: "Do you know who my husband is?"
PK: Okay, Padraig, the same for you: Who has made the biggest impact since you turned pro?
PH: I think my dad was quite a big influence, which I didn't realise until he had passed away.
PH: Just the very grounding conversations we'd have talking about my golf. He was a sounding board, a really good listener.
SL: You have to be a good listener with Padraig.
PH: Listen! No need for that!
PH: The most influential would be Caroline, but I don't think I could have done the US part of my career without Ronan. This is such a lonely place. I am not gregarious enough to make social arrangements but I wouldn't have had room service 10 times in my career, and that's all due to Ronan. So he's undoubtedly the biggest influence on my career in the US.
PK: Do you still miss your father?
PH: Oh, yeah. He saw a good bit of it but he didn't see it all.
SL: What year did he pass away?
PH: 2005. I had just won (at) Westchester and he didn't know (he was dying with cancer). But he knew I had won at Honda, so that was okay. Do I miss my dad? I kinda miss that he missed out a little bit.
SL: On the Majors?
PH: Yeah, but the strange thing was my dad wouldn't have cared.
PH: No. That was the greatest thing about my dad; he was really proud of how I did but he wasn't living it. I never had to play good golf to keep my dad happy, I had to play by the rules and respect the etiquette of the game. Knowing the rules was more important to my dad, and being able to fix a pitch mark properly. If you can see a blemish after I fix a pitch mark I'm disappointed. That's part of my day. I couldn't walk away from a divot last week even though there was placing.
PK: That's your dad?
PH: That's all coming from my dad. And every minute I spend on the rules reminds me of him. It's who I am now but it's because of my dad.
PK: That bond with your father is something you both share.
PH: Yeah, and they were both footballers, so they never lived their lives through ours. Would you agree, Shane?
SL: Yeah. Dad loves coming to events and watching me play, and if I shoot five-over he'll obviously be disappointed, but we'll go back to the house and he'll sit there with a bottle of Heineken and he'll be the happiest man in the world.
Sunday Indo Sport