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September 30, 2016

Darren Clarke

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good evening. Welcome back to the 41st Ryder Cup. Pleased to be joined by European captain, Darren Clarke, who I will have two questions. The first will be about his thoughts on the ebbs and flows of today's play, and then maybe follow-up with your real quick thoughts on what you see for tomorrow morning's foursomes on Saturday morning. Your thoughts on today's play?

DARREN CLARKE: Wow. That was a bit of an exciting sort of day. You know, from this morning from the results after the foursomes this morning, to this afternoon, it was certainly match play golf at its utmost.

I think unfortunately The European Team weren't quite firing on all cylinders this morning and the American Team rightly took advantage of that and played some wonderful golf. And obviously won the session in a commanding fashion.

And this afternoon, the guys, European guys, went back out there and they showed just how proud I am and why I'm so proud of them. They showed a massive amount, in my opinion, of desire and the fight in them to get themselves right back into it again.

Certainly as a captain, very proud of what they did this afternoon.

JOHN DEVER: And your thoughts, sir, on what you see on the pairing sheet for tomorrow morning?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, there's going to be some more interesting matches again tomorrow. There always is at The Ryder Cup. As I say, in foursomes, it ebbs and flows. It's the same as everything. You know, changes can happen. A hole can be won and momentum can be won or lost very, very quickly.

But certainly looking at the matchups that we have tomorrow morning, I think we are in for another really, really exciting morning. And hopefully, from a European point of view, we'll do a little bit better than we did this morning.

Q. You talked about the value of momentum in this competition.

Q. Is it better to have a small deficit and have the momentum or have the lead without it?
DARREN CLARKE: That's a very good question actually. As I'm sitting in my seat right now, in the position we were in at lunchtime, I would definitely say it's better to have a small deficit with some momentum. Because we didn't have much at lunchtime.

But that's golf. That's match play; that's professional match play golf. Certainly we managed to wrestle some of that back to the European side this afternoon.

Q. I think you played all five matches three times in your Ryder Cup career. Can you talk about how difficult that is mentally and physically to play in all five matches?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, physically, maybe I'm not the best person to ask -- or maybe I am (laughs). But certainly I was very tired at the end of all of them.

And mentally, it's very draining, because you're focusing so much on every shot. It's like every hole is like playing major championship golf, the 18th hole, over and over and over again. So come the end of the tournament on Sunday evening, you are mentally exhausted.

But certainly, I was always of the opinion that if my captain wanted me to play five times, I will do whatever he wants me to do. I'm sure Davis may ask some of his guys to do it. I may ask some of mine to do it and they will only be happy to do so.

Q. Conventional wisdom is usually you would put a rookie out first in fourball, not foursomes, but in this case, you have the two out tomorrow morning. Could you explain why you did that?
DARREN CLARKE: Say that again. I don't understand, Alex. I don't understand your conventional wisdom.

Q. Conventional wisdom is usually you would put like Fitzpatrick and Wood out in fourball because they would not be as vulnerable as they would in foursomes. But you have them in foursomes for the first time, so I'm wondering what your philosophy was behind that?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, they both have been playing very well, and it's been tough to leave them out from today. Matt Fitzpatrick's game is built around greens and fairways, which is a perfect foursomes player.

Chris Wood, again, he's a very, very strong player, has been playing exceptionally well in practice. And I wanted to give the guys the opportunity. They didn't get to play today. They are almost like waiting for Christmas; they want to go and play. They didn't get the opportunity today, and I didn't want to hold them back anymore. I wanted to get them out there and give them the opportunity to go out there and play very well tomorrow morning.

Q. Thomas Pieters, his performance today. He was pretty solid playing with Rory in the afternoon and pretty good in the morning, too, actually.
DARREN CLARKE: Thomas is the real deal. He's obviously not that well known over here. He's a wonderful talent. He is developing as a player. He's been very comfortable in the whole situation this week with it being his first Ryder Cup.

You know, he's just -- he's fitted in perfectly. Rory and himself got on really well. Obviously this afternoon they played very, very well. He's a huge prospect for The European Tour and European golf. He can't wait to get back out there and partner with Rory again in the morning.

Q. Lunchtime talk, was it Churchillian or was it Paul O'Connell?
DARREN CLARKE: It was Paul O'Connell. We came here, and we came here as a team, and we're going to play as a team. No matter what the result is, we will stand, as I said, shoulder to shoulder to each other. That is our thing, through good times and bad times.

Teams don't always go the way they want, and especially in our sport and this format. Things change. But the guys, you know, they were disappointed. Of course they were disappointed at lunch time. But were they disappointed to the fact that they were down in the dumps? No. They still believe in what we are doing and they couldn't wait to get back out on the golf course again. That's how good the team were at lunchtime. And in very trying and difficult circumstances, as you could imagine.

Q. Talking about Thomas, the fact that you put him out with Rory in the first match tomorrow, is that as much psychological for your team, as well as just the straight power to win a point?
DARREN CLARKE: Just seemed to work. You know, they want to get out and play. Not because they were last match today. There was no real reason. But I had my pairings there, and you know, it seemed to be the best fit to get them back out on that first tee tomorrow morning.

Q. Rafa and Sergio, is this the start of a new Spanish Armada?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, we shall see. But they were certainly very, very impressive today. You know, we've had some wonderfully successful Spanish partnerships in previous Ryder Cups, obviously from a European standpoint. And the two of them gelled so well today, I thought it would be very foolish of me if I was to try to change that.

They both loved it today. They really, really enjoyed each other's company today, and they wanted to go tomorrow morning again. So with the way they played today, it would have been foolish of me to deny them that opportunity.

Q. Just your thoughts on the way Lee played this morning. He's obviously not in the lineup tomorrow morning.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, Lee struggled this morning. You know, he was man enough to tell me after the match, he says, "Darren, I'm not playing this afternoon. I need to go and work on my game." And he went to do that, and he spoke to me afterwards, during today's afternoon session. And he said, "I'll hit some more balls in the morning and I'll be ready tomorrow afternoon if you want me to go play."

You know, Lee's a stand-up man and he didn't have -- he had no reservations about giving me -- telling me the truth; as indeed would any member of my team. But his information to me was such that he would prefer to hit some more balls.

Q. Just a little less serious, appealing to your fashion sense. I was curious, some of the players on your team in the morning or in the afternoon weren't wearing hats. I was wondering if there was talk about that and any reason why that was.
DARREN CLARKE: We don't all wear hats. We don't all wear them all the time. Some guys wear them. Some guys don't. You know, it's not -- the hats are there. I think there's maybe ten different choices of hats in the locker room and they had the choice if they want to, whichever one they want or if they don't want to wear any at all. Sometimes the guys just, they don't want to wear -- there's no particular reason for it.

JOHN DEVER: Okay, a hatless European captain, Darren Clarke, thank you for your time and have a good evening.

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