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January 16, 2016

Darren Clarke

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PAUL SYMES: Thanks for joining us. Another great day for Team Europe.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, they did very well. Asia got off to a very strong start; I thought they might do. Europe rallied and things went their way on the back nine.

PAUL SYMES: And tomorrow you have Ian Poulter leading from the front again. An easy decision to make I guess.

DARREN CLARKE: Poults, he likes getting out and playing early, and he plays pretty quick. He's been very successful in that leading role so far this week, so I didn't see any reason to change it.

PAUL SYMES: I guess the main message to you is to guard against complacency.

DARREN CLARKE: Obviously, I go back to Brookline 1999 whenever we had a big lead and lost. It's very easy to -- you know, we have a commanding lead obviously right now at the moment, but there's still a lot of golf to play tomorrow against a very strong Asian team. So under no circumstances will we underestimate the challenge that we still have to do. But obviously to have the lead that we have, I'm very delighted for the team that we are in this position.

Q. Would you agree that one hand is on the trophy already?
DARREN CLARKE: There's no hands on any trophy in any golf tournament until you finish the last hole on a Sunday afternoon. I have been in the game too long to know that, whether it's the singles or a team tournament.

There's still a lot of golf to be played tomorrow, and I think we're probably in for another exciting day tomorrow again.

Q. Are you surprised at captain, the 6-point lead, or were you in the back of your mind expecting this?
DARREN CLARKE: Am I surprised at a 6-point lead? I'm not so sure. Did I expect a 6-point lead at this stage? No. I think the guys have bonded exceptionally well in the team room. They have enjoyed themselves this week, which was one of my priorities for them to do so. And they have performed fantastic.

Looking at that leaderboard today after maybe -- I know the first group after nine holes, there was a lot of red up there, and the guys responded to that and played really well. I'm certainly very pleased for the guys that they have a commanding lead. But in saying that, it's only a lead. We've still got to go and play and play very well tomorrow.

Q. What was your thinking behind the order that you have had in the singles?
DARREN CLARKE: The thinking, well, the team, the order, it's strong all the way through. Obviously just talking about Ian going out there first, he likes to play quickly, as does Danny. I could have put this team out in any order, but I had my plan in place for the order in which I wanted the pairings to go out. I had made my mind on that up for fourballs and foursomes probably six weeks ago, and I had my mind made up on basically this order around the same sort of time. I don't see any reason to change from my original plans. That's why they are in the order in which they are.

Q. Your team spirit -- is there anything you would like to improve? I know you have a 6-point lead. I know you would love Europe to win every match. Any areas you would like to see these boys improve on?
DARREN CLARKE: No, from my point of view, I couldn't ask more from my team than they have given me. I've asked them to enjoy themselves. I hope they played well; they have played well. Match-play golf can be a very tricky format. The team so far have played really, really well. They have bonded well as a team. I don't think I would change anything at all with what they have done. I'd be foolish to; they have got a 6-point lead. I don't think I need to change anything.

Q. You seem to have unearthed a very good partnership in Shane and Andy Sullivan.
DARREN CLARKE: I spoke to both of them towards the end of last year anyway, and they had sort of indicated, I asked all the players, give me three names of people you want to play with, and Sully and Shane had their names at the top of each other's lists. It seemed a very natural and normal pairing. They are both very carefree young kids that want to have a bit of fun and they really enjoy each other's company.

I think if you watch them this week, they have shown that. They really, really do enjoy each other's company. They have been a very strong pairing. Going forward, they could possibly be a very strong pairing come September.

Q. When you see a 21-year-old like Matt Fitzpatrick --
DARREN CLARKE: He was fantastic today. He had probably, well, he certainly had the most experienced partner he could possibly have today in Lee, and I know he's learnt an awful lot from Lee today. I've already spoken to him about it.

I don't really want to go through here and pick out individuals because it's all a team effort. It's a cliché to say, but today, with all due respect to the guys that won, I've got a massive amount of respect for Chris Wood and Kris Broberg, to get their match up the last; and to show that sort of fighting spirit to keep going, keep going, keep going and get the match up the last, that almost inspires the rest of the team as much as winning a point does.

So even those two guys didn't get the point today, they inspired the rest of the team. Things like that shows what a unit and what a bond the team have developed this week.

Q. Like any Saturday night before the final round, how much satisfaction would you take sitting here tomorrow as the winning captain?
DARREN CLARKE: I haven't hit a shot, Bernie. It's the team.

Q. You've led the team, and you talk about going forward --
DARREN CLARKE: Well, going forward, yes, if -- ask me the question tomorrow night and I'll probably be in a better state to answer your question, if that's the case.

But my job was to try to get the guys and enable them to enjoy themselves and perform their best and that's what they have done this week. And my role is to direct them and to make them feel as comfortable as possible, and I think so far, I've been able to do that.

You know, I'll probably take a look at this along with the backroom team in a few weeks' time and we'll go through the positives and the negatives, what could I have done better, what I did well, and then move on from there. And then hopefully I will learn a few things about what I could do better and I'll put those into play for September.

But I couldn't ask for anything more from the team. They have been sensational all week, they really have. They came here with quite a few of them having a long break and not playing, and they couldn't wait to get out in competition and they have given everything. I'm very proud of them.

Q. How much is the environment here helped you have your team in such a good frame of mind? In other words, the surroundings, the atmosphere, being in Malaysia, how much has had that a good effect on your team?
DARREN CLARKE: Obviously with the weather we have here, it's much nicer than it is in parts of the U.K., certainly, at the moment. We're very fortunate with that.

But for the guys that come out, they are professional golfers that play all over the world, but you get here, for a lot of them, their first of the tournament year to play in the heat, sometimes oppressive. I think this week, the temperature has not been too bad. I think we've been fortunate with it. The guys really enjoy being here. They enjoy the golf course.

From a personal point of view, it's nice to play a golf course that isn't all about bombing it 330 yards off the tee. This course requires a bit of he strategy, a bit of planning, and all the players have adapted to it this week. I think the quality of the golf again today, it's pretty easy to see how much the guys have enjoyed it.

PAUL SYMES: Thanks a lot, Darren.

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