Padraig Harrington was not your man yesterday if you wanted a player to talk up his chances of ending the 35-year European drought at the US Open.
Asked in the scorching heat of a North Carolina summer to describe the state of his game, Harrington came up with a two-word response you would never hear from Tiger Woods.
"Pretty shabby," said the Dubliner.
But before his supporters lose faith, Harrington was quick to point out that this was only Tuesday morning and he often, if not always, feels the same at this point in his preparations for an event.
"I'm the sort of person that I always look to my weaknesses before I start a tournament and try to get them up to strength," he said.
"On a practice day, I'm focused on the weakest part of my game and that's why I would look and say 'Well, I'm not quite ready yet.'
"There's always the same feeling every tournament, certainly every major, that I'd like another week.
"It was always the same whenever you were doing an exam, wasn't it?
"I'm not a great person for going in with confidence, but I've won when I felt my game was shabby and I've won when I've played shabbily through the event."
Harrington, no longer a member of the world's top ten after missing the halfway cut at the Booz Allen Classic in Maryland last week, is working hard with American sports psychologist Bob Rotella to be in the right frame of mind when he tees off tomorrow with Vijay Singh, who has just lost the world No 1 spot to Woods again.
The Irishman added: "The biggest thing is to be mentally strong these next two days and to practice well, so I don't need nine or 18 holes on Thursday to get into it."
Harrington did not play the 1999 US Open when it was held here, but did pay a visit six weeks ago to get a feel for the course.
It was very different then, though. "Now the rough is as deep as you would want any rough to be," added the Ryder Cup star, whose victory over Singh in the Honda Classic at Palm Beach, Florida, in March has put an even bigger level of expectation on his shoulders.
"It's giving me a bit of concern," he said. "The fairways were a lot wider at Shinnecock last year, but they had the wind there."
Harrington has had three top-ten finishes in his seven US Opens, but said: "I still have the same fears as I had when I first started. I'm a lot better player, but when I'm out there, I'm still thinking" 'Wow, this is hard.'
"Hopefully, the Honda win has had an effect on me, but I don't feel it."
That is hardly surprising after what Harrington describes as a "stop-start" season so far.
Following his victory, his father was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. He is comfortable at the moment, but inevitably it played on the 33-year-old's mind when he missed the halfway cut in the US Masters in April and his form since has been patchy.
It would be fitting indeed if his wait for a Major ends on Father's Day.
Harrington is not fazed by the fact that no European has won this title since Tony Jacklin in 1970. With more of them playing in America now and more courses in Europe being set up with punishing rough, he considers it just a matter of time before the barren spell ends.
However, Woods, Singh, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and defending champion Retief Goosen are a formidable quintet for anyone to try to overcome and ultimately Harrington is interested only in winning rather than the fate of any of the record number of Europeans in the field.
If Harrington is searching for slight advantages in the way he prepares, he hopes he may have it in the Finnish watch - or "instrument" as it is properly known - he now has to measure the speed, length and angle of his swing.
He has already given away about seven of them, including one to fellow Irishman Paul McGinley, while he is well aware that it is only for use on practice days and he cannot consult it on the course during a tournament. Such aids are banned.