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December 17, 2014
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG:Â We have Darren Clarke and Tommy Fleetwood here with us this morning.Â Gents, thanks for joining us.Â Perhaps we'll just start off with Darren first.Â Darren, you're a regular visitor to Dubai, but under different circumstances this week with the inaugural DUBAi Open on the Asian Tour.
DARREN CLARKE:Â Here most definitely.Â Always great first and foremost to be back in Dubai.Â We have so many fantastic golf courses here and we are playing another one this week.Â With the MENA Tour, what they are doing, developing golf, getting more young guys opportunities to play and partnering up with the Asian tour, it's going to be another great event again this week.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG:Â And I believe you've had a look at the golf course here, designed by a close friend of yours.Â What are your thoughts about it?
DARREN CLARKE:Â I think he designed it when he was hitting the ball a bit further than he is now (laughter) but thankfully the tees are going to be moved up a little bit I think.Â But no, the course is fabulous.
It's going to be a stern test, even off the‑‑ if we do move up some tees.Â The greens, it's typical Ernie in that the difficulty is not quite so much on the tee shot; it's on the shots into the greens and indeed around the greens.Â Because his signature, his short game has always been that good, and whoever wins this week, their short game is going to have to be very good.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG:Â Tommy, we had a quick chat yesterday, as well, about the significance of the DUBAi Open this week and your quest for Top‑50 finish and a place in the Masters.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD:Â It was a plan we made nearly three months ago now.Â We sat down at the PGA, and this was a tournament that we looked at that was right at the end of the year and it could always come down to this if i was going to get Top 50, which it's nice to have a plan come together.Â It's nice to get the opportunity to come here and play.
Asian Tour is getting stronger, MENA Tour is getting stronger, and I think just another opportunity to put your game against some great players, and luckily enough for me I have a chance to get in the Masters at the end of the week.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG:Â You spoke about having the chance to get to know Lee and play with Lee last week in the last two rounds of the Thailand Golf Championship, but this week you've had a chance to spends with Darren, as well.Â This must be a good learning curve for you in your young career.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD:Â Yeah, I think I'm just very fortunate to be a part of ISM where we have Lee and Darren who have obviously grown up together and have been very successful in their careers and they are always‑‑ they are two of the most willing people to help you.
I just had a great 45 minutes with Darren and I always feel comfortable to ask him questions.Â It's nice to have a couple of guys that are going to help you through and give you bits of information that you could never get from practising on your own; you could never get from just wandering around a golf course.
All in all, it can only be a massive advantage to me, and like I say, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to have these guys on my side.
Q.Â Is it pressure this week for you?Â You spoke about the plan coming to fruition, but how much pressure do you actually feel?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD:Â Well, yeah, the plan's coming together so far, so all so far, so good.
But obviously, I'd like it to be a 17‑man field and that would make it a lot easier for me.Â But it's obviously in my mind, and it was a massive goal at the start of the year to get to the Top‑50.
I went to the Masters to watch this year, and so it's just‑‑ it's just one of the best tournaments in the world, isn't it.Â It's one you grow up watching.Â It's not the end of the world if I don't get in because there's another cutoff further down the line but I would like to get it done.Â It's another thing to focus your mind.Â It's another challenge mentally to see if you can take that out of your mind or play with something else on your mind.
They are all learning experiences, if you like, and like I say, it's great to have the opportunity to get there to be honest.Â It's great to be able to know that I've got four rounds of golf and if I play well, I'm in the Masters next year.
Q.Â Tiger Woods said it would be a blast if you were Ryder Cup Captain‑‑
DARREN CLARKE:Â Did he?
Q.Â What do you think about that, and is that something you're thinking about?
DARREN CLARKE:Â Well, obviously it's something I would love to do, but it's not something you petition for.Â My name has been put forward and I'm in the running for it.Â I would love to do it, but that's up to the committee to decide.
You know, with the best player in the world for a long time says it would be a blast, that's high praise.Â I think it might cause a bit of a stir if I asked him to be one of the vice captains, so I think I'd better not.
But Tiger's a good friend.Â We've known each other, there's a few other guys up for it over there.Â But whoever the European captain is going to Hazeltine, they have big footsteps to follow after what Paul McGinley achieved and how good a captain he was.Â Whomever The European Tour decide I'm sure will be a great captain.
Q.Â Wondering about your schedule.Â When you started playing, it was European Tour and that was the focus and it's gone so global, Asian Tour, Sunshine Tour, European Tour, PGA TOUR, who did you sit down and do all that?
DARREN CLARKE:Â That slightly larger‑than‑life gentleman sitting behind to your left, he decides everything more or less.Â At this stage of my career, it's different for Tommy, as you say.
When I was starting out, The European Tour was my home, and then with Ken Schofield and George O'Grady, they both gave The European Tour players much more opportunity to play around the world.Â And because of that, you see European Tour now playing in Asia, playing all over the world, and indeed on the PGA TOUR for a long time.
So I've played all around the world.Â I'm slightly in the fortunate position now where I play where I want to play and where I would like to play.Â I have some commitments to fulfill, but I play where I want to play and where I enjoy playing.Â This is obviously one of my favorite places in the world where I like coming back to.
But Tommy has those sort of decisions all ahead of him.Â He's going to be a proper superstar with the game he's got and he's going to keep going forward if he keeps listening to me and Lee.Â If he doesn't, it could be back to Tour School (laughter) but anyway, he'll be fine.
Those decisions, it gets more difficult for Chubby to work out the schedule for the likes of the younger guys.Â But for me, I've always enjoyed playing in America.Â The American crowds have always been very good to me and very kind to me over there.Â And indeed, everywhere around the world.Â Asia has been good to me everywhere I've gone.
I've been very fortunate.Â I've been a pro on Tour for 25 years now and played everywhere.Â So it goes quick when you're out here on Tour, but certainly I've had a great time.
Q.Â It's interesting, considering The Race to Dubai comes to an end and then you sort of see some go off to Thailand and here and to South Africa.Â It's just interesting how choices are made, different for different players.
DARREN CLARKE:Â I think when you get that, The European Tour season started again.Â For the same reason as myself, when they have options, they go and play certain tournaments where they like the golf course or they have played well in the past.
It's a more recent thing where the schedule has become more and more chaotic, because it used to be when I started, we would start here in Dubai.Â Was it the first one?Â It would almost have been the first one in Dubai and then we would finish at the Volvo Masters or something like that at Valderrama at the end of October, and we had a couple tournaments but not that much.
Now it's almost every week.Â It's a very tough thing especially when you're at Tommy's stage of his career where you're watching your World Rankings, you're progressing up the World Rankings and where you play and the fields that play there and to get the points and to accumulate points to get yourself in there and keep yourself in there.Â And a lot of those decisions have to be made, as well, as regards to where you play in terms of the strength of the fields.
It's a much more difficult thing to schedule than people realise or how many factors go into it.Â That's why Chubby is such a good manager and that's why ISM are as good as they are because they look at things very closely to see what is going to be best.
It's been a difficult week for Chubby this week because it's Tommy and Danny Willett are both right up on the edge; two great ISM players and they are right on the edge of it.Â He's always trying to balancing things, and thankfully it's him trying to do it and not us.
Q.Â What's your motivation now?Â You've won a major, you've achieved so much in the game.Â What brings you to events like this and what keeps you going and what drives you?Â What are your ambitions still?
DARREN CLARKE:Â Well, first and foremost, I'm here because of David Spencer and Mohamed.Â They have been friends of mine and they kindly asked me to come along and play.Â Golf in DUBAi do such a wonderful job with all the tournaments they sponsor, the Ladies, the Dubai Desert Classic, this one, the MENA Tour.Â And different reasons, as well; our foundation are actively involved in breast cancer and I'm trying to promote that and stuff.
Spenny gave me an interesting stat last night.Â He said 28 per cent of female deaths in the UAE die of breast cancer, and that's an amazing stat, and that will be reduced by 50 per cent with early detection.Â I've got my breast cancerawareness‑‑ it's over there.Â It's something close to my heart for obvious reasons and it's because of efforts that Spenny and Mohamed do that make that difference.Â I'm here because I want to support them because they have supported me throughout my career.
In terms of what I want to do, I want to play.Â I love the game and I hate the game.Â Of late, I've hated the game a bit more than I love the game but that's the game of golf.Â That's professional sport.Â It's not always pitching up in beautiful venues such as here and going out and having a good time on the golf course.Â It's our job and sometimes we love it and sometimes we don't.
You play well and it's brilliant; if you struggle a little bit, it's not so much fun but you have to keep battling on for the good times.Â That's why I'm still doing it because I love the game and I always will love the game.
Tommy just mentioned, as well, it's great to be in an opportunity to be in a position where I can maybe offer the likes of Tommy a bit of advice, only because I've been through it all, seen every coach in the world, even every mental coach, I think I've destroyed 90 per cent of them.
I've seen everybody there is to see at this stage of my career, and it's nice to give back, especially somebody of Tommy's talent coming through who is, as I say, going to be another superstar, so to be able to help him is great.Â So if he listens, he'll be fine.
Q.Â Where would Ryder Cup captaincy rank in your list of achievements if you were to achieve it?
DARREN CLARKE:Â Well, The Ryder Cup captaincy, it's ‑‑ you're asked.Â It's a huge honour.Â You're asked to do it.Â It's one of those sort of things.Â So until such times if I am lucky enough to be asked, then that would be great.Â But in the meantime, you know, I'm just going to keep on playing and see what happens.
But certainly, as I've said all along, I'd love to do it but it's not something you ask for or something that the committee decide if you're a viable candidate; and if so‑‑ they will make the decision on who they think is going to be best.
You know, as I say, I would love to do it, and if it's not me, it will be a great captain going to Hazeltine anyway.
Q.Â As you play more and more with the greats of the game and you're learning little bits from them, I wonder what specifically you take from Darren?
DARREN CLARKE:Â One of the things that I did from a very, very young age, and Chubby told me to do it, I had a little black book, not with nasty people and numbers in it or good people, etc.
But I had a little book that I always had in my golf bag that I kept notes of every lesson I've ever had, every tip.Â If I saw somebody doing‑‑ hitting a shot, well, how do they did they do that, I can't do that, I would always ask them afterwards.
So the likes of Seve, Faldo, Greg Norman, everybody, Woosie, Bernhard Langer, everybody's in that little book that I've got.Â I've got tips and written them down, and I still go back and look at them.Â And it's great to see Tommy's got the same thing in his bag, as well.
Chubby's always told him the same thing.Â Not only does he want to learn, but he's doing the right thing by writing it down; we forget.Â He writes everything down.
Q.Â Is that a book waiting to be published?
DARREN CLARKE:Â No, that's a personal book, a private thing that I've gone and asked people to do.Â But it's a wonderful reference point.Â And the fact that he's so keen and wants to do the same sort of thing.
I actually go back through it now.Â I had a look at a little tip that I had‑‑ my first year on Tour was 1990.Â I have stuff from 1992 that I go back and look at:Â Oh, that's what Seve said or Greg Norman said or blah, blah, blah.Â But the fact that Tommy is doing it already shows his desire and determination to get to where he wants to be.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD:Â I don't think enough people ask players, really.Â I think it's just something that seems incredible to me that you wouldn't ask to be honest.Â We all want to get better and you all want to reach to be as good as you can be, and when you have got players like Darren that are sitting right next to you at the dinner table and you want to know something, why wouldn't you ask.
Q.Â Do you think some are afraid to ask?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD:Â Maybe.Â I think maybe asking the first time is the hardest bit and then once they say yeah, I'll help, you kind of free up.Â But you know, it's just one of them things.Â You don't want to regret not asking, and then spending a year down the line, you're still struggling with the same thing or you still can't hit that shot.
Like I say, I just had 45 minutes with Darren there and it's something that I can practice on for a little while and I'll have practise rounds with him and he'll keep nagging me and nagging me until I get it right.Â But just to have somebody help like that is a massive bonus for me.
DARREN CLARKE:Â Lee is the same way.Â Lee wants to help the young ISM kids, as well.Â It's our way of giving back to the game that's been good to us.
Q.Â Were you afraid to ask?
DARREN CLARKE:Â I was nervous to go and ask.Â I was asking some of the icons of the game, how did they do this, how did they do that.
As Tommy said, you'd be crazy not to ask‑‑ oh, this isn't too bad.Â I've had one or two people say no, but that's the way it is.Â Everybody is in there, Tiger's‑‑ everybody's in there, bits and pieces.Â If you don't want to make yourself better at this game, then you're in the wrong job.
If you don't want to put yourself in the position where it really hurts, where if you mess up coming down the stretch and you don't learn from it, then you're in the wrong job.Â And you can only get better by learning from other people that have been there maybe a few times before you have.Â So that's why I've always asked people and picked their, brains and I still do.
Q.Â Who said no?
DARREN CLARKE:Â Actually one of the good things is that I'm 46 and I'm not stupid enough to answer that question.Â (Laughter) that's called experience.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG:Â Thanks for joining us and good luck this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports