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September 28, 2016

Darren Clarke

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome back to the 41st Ryder Cup.

Pleased to be joined again by European captain Darren Clarke. Darren, good to see you.


JOHN DEVER: Your pairings this morning, your matches that you set up today are a little bit different than what we saw yesterday. Is there anything we can decipher from that, or is mystery of it all, is that your intention?

DARREN CLARKE: It's such a pressure-filled week for all the guys. Last night we had a great night in our team room. We had a wonderful man in, Paul O'Connell, addressing the team, and then we had Dynamo, the magician, in addition afterwards. Everything was very light-hearted and a good mood.

So this morning I decided that I would put the veterans out against the rookies and let the rookies step up and take the veterans on. That was the whole idea this morning. The guys are relaxed, they're enjoying themselves, and they wanted to go out there and have a little bit of fun. They've got a lot of pressure coming their way and this morning was going out and letting them play nine holes and trying to take the cash off the older guys.

JOHN DEVER: That works. Speaking of the rookies and the six that you have, I have to imagine it's a source of pride for everybody from Ryder Cup Europe that this next wave of European talent has arrived kind of at the same time in unison. Is that accurate?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I think so. I think, as you can see from both sides in the past, you've had times whenever you see somewhat of a changing of the guard, and I think as you've rightly pointed out, we've got six rookies on our team this week. They are probably going to be the future of The Ryder Cup going forward and I feel very fortunate that they are here on this team.

I have full belief in all those rookies. They are very, very talented players and I'm sure they will do their utmost to respect Europe the best that they can this week.

Q. What's your opinion on the article that's been written by -- you knew it was coming -- Danny's brother? Do you think that's going to be unhelpful this week?
DARREN CLARKE: Listen, I just was made aware of the article about an hour ago. I haven't seen it. As soon as I did, I went out to find Danny, who was playing in the last group out there this morning. I spoke to Danny about it. I showed it to Danny. And he's bitterly disappointed in his brother's article. It is not what Danny thinks. It is not what I think. It is not what Team Europe stands for.

So Danny was unaware of it, and he fully intends to speak to his brother whenever he comes in and tell him, express his displeasure to his brother about it, because that is not what Team Europe stands for.

I was obviously very disappointed in it, as well, because that's an outside person expressing their opinion which is not representative of what our thoughts are.

Q. Much has been made today about the role of a Ryder Cup Captain. How do you define the role of a Ryder Cup Captain?
DARREN CLARKE: All-encompassing, I think. I think when I look back from my first Ryder Cup in 1997 and had the privilege of playing under Seve and seeing how much he ran about everywhere, I can understand that somewhat more nowadays, because you try to do everything you possibly can as a captain.

But then again, we have more vice captains these days than we had in the past. If I wasn't to delegate some of the responsibility to those guys, I would have no time at all.

So you try to balance up what is required in your role predominately towards the players and then balance up your other roles, such as doing this, et cetera, and decisions that have to be made.

It's quite a fulfilling rolling. It's one that I'm really enjoying but there's a lot of preparation that goes into it, but whenever we actually get here, after a year and a half of planning, to see that come to fruition, it's wonderful.

I know it's still early in the week and we've got to get the main event off playing, the golf starts, but I'm really excited and looking forward to it.

Q. Just as a follow on Danny's brother's thing?

Q. Obviously he was highly critical of the U.S. fans. Is there any concern of yours that that incites what is already obviously going to be a pretty emotional crowd?
DARREN CLARKE: As I said there, the article is very, very disappointing and that is not reflective of Team Europe. That is not the way that we view things.

I mean, the fans could not have been nicer and better to us this week, and that is -- hopefully that continues. And as I say, the article was beyond our control, and you know, Danny is bitterly disappointed himself. It's up to Danny to speak to his brother whenever he comes in and express that. I will let him deal with it between siblings.

It's one of those real disappointing things. But as I say, it's Danny's brother's opinion, not Danny's or Team Europe's opinion, so Danny will resolve that.

Q. Sort of a golfing question. You've spent months working out what your probable pairings would be.

Q. Just wonder what you've seen this week that might have changed your mind.
DARREN CLARKE: Yes, I have my pairings, and I know almost about 100 percent of what's going to happen Friday morning and indeed Friday afternoon. I probably guess this morning may have thrown a little curveball in there with not knowing what was going on, but I wanted the guys to go out there and have a little bit of fun.

But certainly all the vice captains are out there watching what's going on. Unfortunately, Paul Lawrie woke up feeling very poorly this morning, so he had to go back and rest. But the rest of the guys are out there watching what's going on.

Has there been anything to change my mind? Everybody's playing pretty well, so there's some tough decisions to be made. But I have my plans and I'm going to follow through.

Q. Members of the American task force in analyzing what's gone wrong for the Americans have said that they also want to kind of model what the Europeans have done. What do you think when you hear that?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, I think that can only be a compliment. It's a compliment in the fact that obviously we have been successful, otherwise they would not want to try and copy what we have been doing to a certain degree.

But I think it's also a compliment to themselves. I think it's a compliment to Ryder Cup America because they crave and they want success. It's like any team, if your results aren't the way you want them to be, you to try to figure out a way to improve those results.

I think the highest compliment that anybody can play is to try and maybe copy or take a look at a few of the components that make up our success. The task force I look at as a huge compliment to the European Tour.

Q. Spanish guys have always been very passionate in the game of golf. We have two of them, Sergio, and one rookie, Rafa. How have they been in the first days?
DARREN CLARKE: Obviously Sergio is a Ryder Cup veteran. He's really enjoying himself, and Rafa has just slipped into the whole thing. You'd think he'd played quite a few Ryder Cups before.

Both the guys are enjoying themselves. It's not as if you have Rafa and Sergio sticking together like glue in the team room. Everybody is mixing in with everybody. But the two guys certainly are very, very comfortable with the positions that they are in at the moment.

Q. Could I just double-check, were there any plans for Danny's brother to come out to The Ryder Cup, and in light of what's been written, would those plans perhaps change now?
DARREN CLARKE: That I can't answer. I'm not aware of who is bringing whom to The Ryder Cup.

My responsibilities are to the team and the 12 guys and their partners and the caddies that are in the close-knit team room, so I have no idea if his brother was invited or not.

Q. Earlier Henrik said that he could probably go five sessions, if you needed him to, on that knee; do you expect that to be the case? Do you think you can count on him through the whole?
DARREN CLARKE: Henrik has assured me that if I would ask him to play five times, he is fit enough to play five times. Obviously his knee is giving him a little bit of bother; not as much as what has been reported. Henrik has told me, if I need him five times, he is more than keen and able to play five times.

Q. You and Lee played Phil and Tiger in 2004 in that fourball match. What do you remember about that match? And Phil made some comments this morning about maybe he was put in a position to fail; do you agree with that or what are your memories from that match?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, as far as I'm concerned, I don't think I've ever teed up in a Ryder Cup where I've been sent out in a position to fail. That is not something I have felt when I've gone out to play.

But I remember whenever Tiger and Phil were against Lee and myself, obviously we were playing against No. 1 and 2 in the world. Lee and I had a big task. We knew that. Phil and Tiger got off to a very good start. But Lee and myself have had a pretty solid Ryder Cup record in the past. We knew each other's games inside out, so we were of the mind-set to keep going, keep going, keep going, one hole at a time. And we managed to get ourselves back into the game and eventually hang on and win the game. So in terms of when I look back, it was obviously another really good achievement for Lee and myself to beat world No. 1 and 2.

But in terms of what Phil has said about the pairing, I can't comment on that, because I wasn't part of their pairing. I was only part of Lee and myself.

Q. What impact did Paul O'Connell make on the players and did he hit the notes that you were expecting him to?
DARREN CLARKE: Paul most definitely was exceptional in the team room last night. Any man that leads the British Lions who are playing overseas all the time, they play away from home; as the people from Europe that know rugby, they are the traveling side. So to get his input and his vision on what it took to make a successful traveling side was very impressive.

The caddies, the players, everybody in that room; you could have heard a pin drop whenever Paul was addressing them. And it was quite interesting, because Paul is a very -- a very large man, 6'7", 6'7" and a half. And he's big in stature. But whenever Paul addressed the team, he sat down. He didn't stand up. He didn't feel the need to stand up and intimidate anybody. He brought himself down on the same level as everybody else.

The team and the caddies were unbelievably impressed with the words that he gave us last night, so I was very, very thankful for him to come along and do that. The guys were thoroughly inspired.

After that, going into the team room and having Dynamo there, Paul was in there, as well, with Dynamo and to see the guys switch off a little bit and chill and enjoy themselves was also very beneficial. All in all, it was a very productive evening.

Q. Europe went 7-1 in foursomes at Gleneagles which is a big key. In your experience, what makes a really good foursomes pair, and do you feel Europe has any kind of edge in the format in that it's a little more familiar with it?
DARREN CLARKE: Possibly a little bit more familiar with it. But I think the secret to foursomes in my opinion is having complete and utter belief in your partner.

I've had a few partners, but my main one in Ryder Cups was Lee. Lee and I travelled the world together. We played practice rounds together. We knew each other's strengths and each other's weaknesses. But as a pair, we came together and we had the utmost belief and trust in each other. I think that European bond is a very strong one, and it seems to work whenever the guys all pull together and they have that bond, and that makes -- in my opinion, that makes a strong foursome pairing.

Q. This is a question about Henrik Stenson again. Given the fact that you guys have six rookies on your team and the season that he has played, how important is he for this team?
DARREN CLARKE: He's very important on this team, but no more important than any other member of the team. You know, Henrik, obviously he's The Open Champion. He has a lot of experience. He has a lot of global success.

You know, the young guys -- Henrik would be one of the players that the young guys may look up to. He is one of the leaders in the team room. But again, everybody in the team room there is equal.

Henrik has said, as I touched on earlier, he will play five times, four times, three times, whatever I ask him to play, and you couldn't ask more for a team member than Henrik Stenson. He's been fantastic in there.

Q. When you said you felt like you were never sent out in a position to fail, were you speaking about your faith in the wisdom of your captains or the attitude you tried to take, even if you didn't agree with the captain?
DARREN CLARKE: I never disagreed with the captain. The captain -- all the captain tries to do is make the best decisions for the team, and you're there to represent the team and the captain.

So in terms of -- I was just asked the question about Phil; that was his opinion. I never had that same sort of feeling. That was something every time I went out, I went out to try and win my point for Europe, should I be on my own or should I be with a partner. That was the only intention that I had. I didn't win all my points, but I went out to try to win as many as I could.

Q. Is there something that Paul O'Connell said last night that resonated with the away wins that you've been involved with as a player and a vice captain, something, some common thread perhaps that goes through those? And secondly, how important is it for you that all your players play on the first day, all 12?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, Paul said quite a few things last night, and I don't know, we're talking about two different sports in rugby and golf; whereas rugby is obviously a team game all the time, and golf, we get together for this once every two years.

But he made a lot of very pertinent points about you're playing for the jersey and different ways about that. There was a lot of common ground found there. And when you have the likes of Henrik and Sergio and Rafa and those guys, Thomas Pieters, those guys are not quite as familiar with the game of rugby as I would be, to have those guys listening to every word he said, obviously everything he did say resonated with them.

What was the other one? What was the second part of the question?

Q. Just on playing everybody on the first day.
DARREN CLARKE: Oh, playing everybody on the first day. I've spoken to a lot of previous captains on this. They have all came in with plans, but each and every one of them have told me that those plans need to be fluid. So if that's the case, I have an idea in my head of what it will be Friday morning, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon. But that has to be fluid in terms of how the match is going.

So I will, along with the help and guidance of my vice captains, try and put out the strongest eight players in those Friday morning, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, as I see fit for the position the team is in.

JOHN DEVER: European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke, thank you for your insight. Enjoy your afternoon.

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