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October 1, 2016

Darren Clarke

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good evening, everybody. Welcome back to the 41st Ryder Cup. Pleased to be welcomed by European Captain Darren Clarke. As we did yesterday, perhaps I can ask you your thoughts, first on the day that was, and a good start for Europe in the morning and a little lost momentum in the afternoon.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, most definitely. The guys sort of rode the momentum this morning that they gained last night. Played nicely this morning.

Went out this afternoon and we faced some inspired golf by Davis's team and they played very well. You know, so obviously disappointed with this afternoon's results from a European point of view, but there's still 12 points to play for tomorrow.

JOHN DEVER: Your first thoughts on the 12 matches, perhaps a little description of your strategy as to how you laid out your team for Sunday singles.

DARREN CLARKE: Well, as you can see with us being three points behind, we've go very strong -- the whole team's strong, but we'll go very strong there early. So there's some wonderful games that we're all going to see tomorrow out there, you know, starting off obviously the first one with Patrick Reed, who played fantastically well today, against Rory who has played fantastically well all week.

There's lots of fantastic match-ups there tomorrow.

JOHN DEVER: It's a heavyweight battle right from the get-go.

Q. How would you characterize fan behavior for the matches, especially as it relates to what Rory McIlroy went through?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, you know, it's disappointing. But I think you have 99.99 percent of the crowd out there that are wonderfully respectful. They are patriotic, yes, but they are wonderfully respectful.

You're always going to have one or two idiots that say the wrong thing at the wrong time, and you know, unfortunately that's just -- that's happened. But overall, the fans have been absolutely superb to us. And it's unfortunate, you're just going to run into people like that now and again that say the wrong thing at the wrong time and the wrong place.

Q. Two questions about Medinah. One is, Davis said he and his captains will be discussing Medinah and remembering what happened. And two, the question is, will you be talking about Medinah to your guys? And second question is, Davis also said he'll never forget a conversation you and he had on the porch at Medinah after the match, and just wondering do you remember that and what passed between you then?
DARREN CLARKE: I remember speaking to Davis afterwards, because as I said, Davis has been a very good friend of mine for a long time. I was delighted and over the moon for José Maria Olazábal, but I also felt for Davis that day, with him being as good a friend as he always has been. In Medinah, obviously, they were four points behind, one point worse than what we are now.

But teams have come back from that deficit, not just there, but elsewhere. So it's still game on. As I've just said there, there's 12 points to play for tomorrow. We are currently three points behind. But I've got a team that, yes, they were disappointed whenever we came off the golf course, as naturally they should be, I would expect them to be that way.

But we sat and had a team meeting afterwards with the players and the caddies, and some of the players spoke up, and we had a really good, strong meeting afterwards. And those guys fully believe that they have the talent and the desire to put a result in tomorrow.

Q. Just a quick follow-up and then a fresh question. The follow-up, has the heckling disturbed Rory or the other players, do you think?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, I think if you take a look at how Rory has performed, I doubt it's bothered him. He's played -- it's actually inspired him. He's played fantastic this week.

You know, as I say, keep going back to the same point, it's just you have the odd idiot, unfortunately, and you know, that's just the way it is.

Q. And Matt, he's the youngest, most inexperienced pro on the team. If it goes down to him, No. 12, what was your thinking about putting him last?
DARREN CLARKE: Matt's game is very strong. He hits fairways, he hits greens, that's what he does. That's what Matt's strengths are. And to have somebody who hits fairways and who hits greens, if it really comes down to it, that's what you want.

Matt could be in a wonderful position tomorrow afternoon. I certainly hope he is.

Q. Going back to the point about Rory, not only has he played four sessions at a very high level, but he's played them in a highly charged environment, and he's been very emotional. And I thought over the closing holes, even though they won, he looked like he was a little weary coming down the stretch. Do you have any sense of that?
DARREN CLARKE: Absolutely not. No, Rory, I've spoken to, obviously I've got five guys that have played every match so far. We went into this week and I've spoken to every one of them about the possibility of having to do so, and every one of them said, by all means, whatever you ask of me, they will do; they will do their best.

Now, whilst I appreciate what you've said about Rory going out there and playing as charged up as he is, he's a young man and he's playing some of the best golf of his life right now. So you know, I know for a fact that he can't wait to get on that tee tomorrow morning, so I have no worries about Rory.

Q. Would you sum up Martin Kaymer's performance so far? And since you put him on 11, was that on purpose or randomly, given at Medinah, he was second to last, as well?
DARREN CLARKE: It wasn't randomly, no. Martin has worked so hard this week and has been a great part of the team. He has spoken up in team meetings, as I would expect from a double Major Champion.

He's down there tomorrow. We've gone through the list and trying to put people where we wanted to put them specifically. Justin Rose, for example, likes playing at No. 4. He's had great success playing at No. 4. And Martin, as well, is down there for that reason.

In answer to your question, yes, he's there for a reason. Not just because of Medinah, but he's there for a reason, and also, he's been a very, very important part of the team this week.

Q. Rory and Patrick Reed have been outstanding, not just in terms of quality of their golf but the passion that they have shown.

Q. Do you and Davis feel that you almost owed it to golf and owed it to the people who are cheering across the world to put that game on and put them toe-to-toe?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, we didn't speak to each other about where he was going to put Patrick, and he probably guessed where I was going to put Rory. But we didn't have a conversation about that.

You know, I think the fact that it's come out in the draw, it's a mouth watering prospect for the first match off tomorrow morning.

Q. First of all, could you just tell a little bit about, what did you say to Lee Westwood after his tough finish and going into tomorrow?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, Lee played fantastic all day. I don't know how much of the golf that you watched; he played fantastic all day. The shot that he hit out of the bunker, to hit it to where he did -- to hit the shot that he did, to get it that close, and indeed the one that Danny hit out of the bunker to get it up there. You know, he gave himself every opportunity.

It was a downhill, right-to-left putt that he would probably make nine times out of ten, but you add Ryder Cup pressure and he missed it. It happens in professional golf. But his golf all day was fantastic. He's disappointed, but he's ready to get out there and play again tomorrow.

Q. A corollary that, how is Lee's psyche?
DARREN CLARKE: Lee's fine. He's a veteran and he's done this many, many times. He's disappointed, and he's disappointed more for the team than himself when he came off the golf course. He's now back focused on what he needs to do tomorrow.

Q. Was there ever any thought to have Lee putt first and have Willett putt second?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, sometimes you've got to leave it up to the players to see what they think is best. You know, I could have ran on to the green and said, No, Lee, you go first. Because within our Captain's Agreement, we are allowed to do that. We are the only ones that are allowed to give advice.

In saying that, Danny's putt was coming down on exactly the same sort of line and so Lee had to move his marker, so it was exactly on the same line. They were trying to get the read off Danny's putt coming down there. So they were trying, as opposed to Lee going first, as you suggested, they were trying to give themselves the best information possible before he hit the putt. And unfortunately, it didn't go in. He did everything right. The ball didn't go in.

JOHN DEVER: European Ryder Cup Captain, Darren Clarke, thank you. Sleep fast, lots of golf left.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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