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May 23, 2019

Darren Clarke

Rochester, New York

Q. Compare the course conditions at the start of day and how you finished the day, was there a difference in weather --
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, well, the winds picked up there the last -- kept gusting there in the last couple of holes. So, ordinarily (indiscernible) pretty good in those last two tough holes, the wind's jumping downwind. Much better downwind than it is into the wind.

But it's getting a little bit gusty there. So the guys are going to have a hard time, I think. You know, the guys tonight, this afternoon in the second part of the draw, they have a tough draw, I think.

Q. In that sense, do you think you had the advantage of getting out with less (indiscernible)?
DARREN CLARKE: Oh, yeah, most definitely. The guys in the early, we definitely have a bit of an advantage this morning. It's going to play very tough. It plays tough anyway, but it's going to be even tougher if that wind gets gusts and gets up like it's forecasted to.

Q. Jeff Maggert said that this is one of the toughest courses for your Tour that you guys would play. Would you agree with that assessment?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I think so. You know, fortunate enough had a couple of majors here at Oak Hill, and it's a fantastic, wonderful golf course. But it's tough. It's not hidden. Everything's in front of you. You can see. But you know you're under pressure on the tee. You miss the fairway, you know it's going to be a struggle, and it's just an all-around fantastic test.

I said to my caddie as well at the start of this, any stage you get me with the back of the green this week, when I'm in the middle of the fairway, you're fired (laughing). And he didn't do that today.

But, you know, you cannot afford to go long at Oak Hill. You'll pay the penalty for it. For the most part, I didn't do that today.

Q. Couple thoughts on tonight's honor that you're receiving?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, obviously to receive this award, the Hagen award, is a huge thing. Not just for me, but for my foundation, the people that work for it diligently all year and work hard to make the foundation and supporting junior golf back home in Ireland. It's a huge award for them as well. But I sort of started off like Sir Walter Hagen; didn't quite finish off like him (laughing).

Q. A lot of the folks yesterday were -- or the previous two days were thinking level par might be the score to shoot for on Sunday.
DARREN CLARKE: That'd be a great score. I'd take it right now and not play anymore.

Q. So what do you make of 2-under?
DARREN CLARKE: 2-under is pretty good. I'm disappointed bogeying the last. I hit a perfect tee shot. I hit the tee shot 320 down the last and it's gone a couple further in the rough, and I didn't think it could run out on that line. And I paid the penalty for hitting a good shot. I was slightly irritated.

But overall I played really nice. I've been -- my starts have been really good this past few weeks, it's just the putter hasn't been working. And today I putted a little bit better. Gave myself more chances. Still had lots of looks, but all in all, pretty pleased with the way I played.

Q. So you still think level is going to --
DARREN CLARKE: I think there are a lot of guys here who will take level and sit in the clubhouse.

Q. There's always going to be some weather delay. Through the years, have you approached those any differently? Do you feel when it happens now you got to get --
DARREN CLARKE: I think when I was playing on the PGA TOUR, a rain delay, I'd go down to the range the first time, warm up again, then we're called in, another delay, I'd go down and warm up again. I think when you get on the Champions Tour, you go down once and sort of hoping for the best the second time. I certainly didn't go back down a second time again. But, yeah, it's part of professional golf. It's part of what we do. Just inclement weather comes with it. We have had a lot of it this year on Tour, and it's just part of and you've got to deal with it and try and get yourself ready when you go back out again.

Q. You birdied a third of the holes today. How were you able to find the birdies that the other guys don't seem to be?
DARREN CLARKE: I hit it close. I hit it close enough because I was hitting a lot of fairways. You know, you cannot play Oak Hill from the rough. It'll get you sooner or later. I was hitting it pretty long and pretty straight. So I was having short irons in there and for the most part leaving myself up for the putts and made the most of them.

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