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Its deja vu all over again for Padraig Harrington. Well sort of anyway. The Irishman is paired with you know who for the first two rounds of the US Open starting on Thursday at Bethpage Black. However he said he is better prepared this time around. “The first time I played with Tiger was in the last group in 2002 here at Bethpage,” said Harrington, “and definitely the first couple of times you have to get used to, whatever it was, seemed like 50 photographers trying to take a photograph and things like that. You're on tee boxes waiting to hit your tee shot and you actually have to wait for the photographers to settle or things like that. There's no negative about that, you just have to accept it and work with it, and it takes a while to get used to that. You become used to it.”
In the past seven years, Harrington has grown as a player and caused some of his own excitement in that time. He isn’t worried about walking in the company of the world’s #1 player. “I don't envisage any issues for me this week. I certainly think about it and make sure that I'm ready to expect the bigger crowds and ready to accept whatever goes on with the circus that follows Tiger's matches,” he said. “Ultimately, it is a bit of that. And you've got to accept it and work with it.”
Make no mistake the focus will clearly be on Tiger’s title defense but Harrington knows better than to focus on something he can’t control. “It would be very foolish to start worrying about somebody else. There's no point in me trying to think about who's going to win this tournament or who's favorite or anything like that. The only person I can control and the only person, to be honest, is myself.”