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July 15, 2016

Darren Clarke

Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Q. What did you think of today?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I three-putted 12, but you're going to do that. The conditions are very, very tough out there and got extremely tough there for the last few holes for us with the breeze picking up and stuff, but that's Open Championship golf.

Q. I mean, I know the leader is 10-under par, but anything can happen?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, of course it's going to blow and stuff, but my priorities are Ryder Cup. It's not my own golf. This is the biggest and best tournament in the world and I'm proud and privileged to be part of the field and play in it. As you know, I love links golf. As much as I'm not practicing as much as I'd like to or playing as much as I'd like to, when I get back on the links again, I can manage my way around the golf course because I've grown up doing it, and I've been doing it a long time. Anytime The Open comes around, it's a different challenge.

I wanted to play well this weekend, but it will be interesting to see how some of the Ryder Cup contenders get on.

Q. (Inaudible).
DARREN CLARKE: No, listen, I'm playing at the weekend. I'm happy. My Ryder Cup duties are more important than my own golf right now. That doesn't mean I'm not trying. I want to play well, but that other stuff is more important.

Q. Are you looking at the leaderboard?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, obviously Henrik is up there. It's great to see him getting up there. He's won again recently. He's showing some great form and it's brilliant. After Phil's brilliant round yesterday, to have Henrik go and shoot that 6-under today. They might have had good conditions starting off with, but then they had tough conditions when the rain came in, so to shoot 6-under par is a hell of a score today.

But there are lots of guys that will have a chance to go forward over the weekend. Andy Sullivan's playing nicely again, and what did Martin finish? I didn't see that. Martin's been playing nicely again. So there are lots of guys that will play.

Q. The American flags up there on day 1 (inaudible)?
DARREN CLARKE: No, we're not playing the Ryder Cup on a links golf course, so no.

Q. Graeme McDowell obviously knows what he has to do between now and the end of the season.
DARREN CLARKE: No, G-Mac's trying his best, and the game's obviously just a little tough for the moment for him. What did he finish on today? Just under 4. Is that going to just miss? That's sort of the run that G-Mac's on. I know G-Mac's qualities. He's trying so hard and just not quite going his way at the moment, but we'll see. That's it. But there are a lot of other guys in there pushing for places as well. So we should see how things develop.

Q. Have you had a chance to speak to Chris Wood today?
DARREN CLARKE: I did. I spoke to Woody yesterday. In fairness to him he came to find me on Wednesday and explained his whole situation to me on the chipping green over there, and specifically got ahold of me and wanted to speak to me and explain the situation, which I thought was very, very respectful of him. He had a sore neck, and we spoke about him going out to play yesterday, and he thought he's got to give it a go because it is the biggest and best tournament in the world. I think he did the right thing. There is no point in doing further damage. I sent him a message last night, "Get yourself ready for U.S. PGA."

Q. With so many golfers contending at the minute, is it unthinkable (Inaudible)?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, I said at the very start when the very first task, it would be very, very difficult for me to pick a rookie. I didn't say I wouldn't. I said it would be very, very difficult. I still stand from that opinion. But we shall see how the team works out and what the picks hopefully will do. We'll blend out the team. Should that be experience, should that be guys who I think are going to bring the team in, then that's what will happen.

The vice captains and I will sit down and have a long and frank discussion about it and hopefully come to the right conclusion.

Q. Would you have David Lingmerth and Alex Noren in there?
DARREN CLARKE: David was with us earlier for dinner at TPC and stuff. And David's turned into a fabulous player over there in the States. You don't win over there without being a proper player. I've been watching the stats, same with Alex as well. Alex has been back in form again. Alex has played with a few injuries of late, but he's now back to fitness. Alex can turn up and win any tournament. He showed that last week in Scotland. He's been there and done it before and he's a talented and experienced professional.

Everybody's still got a chance, and that's what's going to happen. It's going to come down the last few tournaments with guys all pushing for their places. I can't control anything. I'm as excited as you guys to see who is going to make the top nine automatic qualifiers and there are a lot of potential guys that can still get in there.

Q. Did you have a couple beers there with Shane (inaudible)?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, Shane had a tough day yesterday. I don't know how he's doing today. He played well again, didn't he? So there's lots of guys. No matter who makes the European team, it's going to be a strong team. You say we currently have five rookies in our top nine automatic qualifying places, which we do. But those guys are there because they deserve to be there. So fair play to them.

Q. (Inaudible).
DARREN CLARKE: Well, I'm trying. I'm trying.

Q. You must be proud of those two rounds.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, yeah, I am. I didn't come to play rubbish. My game has been a struggle of late, obviously. You can see that. There's reasons for that because Ryder Cup being my priority. But there's still a golfer inside me somewhere. Maybe come November I'll get much more acquainted with my clubs again. But at the minute when I do go play, I want to play half decent and I've achieved that so far this week. And I want to hopefully have a good weekend.

Q. (Inaudible).
DARREN CLARKE: No, I'm still looking at everybody. As I said, the Ryder Cup is more important than my own golf right now.

Q. Do you think it's helping the players seeing you out here performing?
DARREN CLARKE: I don't think I make any difference to those guys whatsoever. I know all the guys anyway, and they all know that my name is on the Claret Jug, so it doesn't make any difference seeing me play on the links. It's up to those guys to carry on and have a good weekend, which I'm sure they will.

Q. (Inaudible).
DARREN CLARKE: No, there's still a long way to go for qualifying. I don't want to single out G-Mac. There are a lot of other guys, potential guys, that can still make the team and still be under consideration for picks and what have you. There's still quite a long way to go in qualification. We're getting closer, but there's still a long way to go.

Q. Can you describe what your head is like at the moment?
DARREN CLARKE: Full, full (laughing).

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