July 21, 2021
Sunningdale, Berkshire, England
Sunningdale Golf Club
Q. A are another beautiful day, how are you feeling?
DARREN CLARKE: Looking forward to it. Any time you get a chance to get back to sunning defending champion, I played a lot of golf here. I used to live five minutes away. The ex-club professional here, Keith Maxwell, introduced me to Sunningdale in the late '90S and I've played so much golf here, especially with the weather good as this, the golf course is pristine. It's a beautiful walk.
Q. Tell us about the golf course.
DARREN CLARKE: I can't sing its praises high enough. It's a beautiful walk. The golf course is in sensational condition. There are birdie opportunities out there but already there is bogeys and double-bogeys, if you don't know what you're doing or hit it in the wrong place. But it's a wonderful walk. Any time I get a chance to come back and play Sunningdale, I love it.
Q. How have you enjoyed your golf since turning 50?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, pretty good. I've been playing golf Champions Tour in America predominately and living in Bahamas. In and out, go and play for three weeks an the Champions Tour, then back to Bahamas a couple weeks, go and play for three weeks an the Champions Tour, and back to the Bahamas. So it's all working out okay. Managed to win a couple times and that's been good as well.
I enjoy getting back in contention and giving myself opportunities to win. I haven't won since January at our Tournament of Champions at Hualalai, and looking forward to get back in the mix at this level.
Q. How hard is it to stay competitive at this level?
DARREN CLARKE: It's not. You get into tournament play, you're a professional golfer, and you go out and go do it. In terms of how hard it is to stay competitive, you want to stay competitive but you've got to putt the hours and the work in. I think if anybody needs to take a look, you'll see the putting range is busy. The guys work just as hard now as they did on when they were on main tours.
Q. Would you say you put in as much work as you did?
DARREN CLARKE: At least if not more. I've always done that, so nothing's changed.
Q. Two senior major Top 10s so far, you've obviously played major championships your whole life but what have you learned from playing in those senior majors?
DARREN CLARKE: They are no different. The majors are all majors. But they are the ones we want to win more. Sometimes it's easy to get ahead of yourself, and this is a really important tournament -- it is, but it's not. You want to play well if you want to win them.
But at the same time if you put too much pressure on yourself and expect too much of yourself, that's when you make mistakes. These are the ones you want to win. You want to win the majors when you're on the main tour and you want to win the ones out here, as well. I would dearly love to add the Senior British next to my Claret Jug.
Q. What about the field this week?
DARREN CLARKE: It's good and it's pretty strong. I think it goes without saying with all the COVID restrictions, a lot of my colleagues weren't able to travel and compete with us and compete but that's the way it is. We're in a different world right now. But obviously you've got Ernie and so many great players that are very good this week, as well, so I think the fans are in for a treat.
Q. Finally with your experience on the golf course, the weather, what kind of championship should we expect?
DARREN CLARKE: I think it's going to be wonderfully entertaining. I think you're going to see some really, really good scoring. But Sunningdale is one of those golf courses where when you play it, you think you're going to have lots of chances and you go out and play with a card in your hand, it's a lot different golf course.
It's going to be a wonderful challenge, and if the weather stays like it is, I think we're going to have a very exciting week of golf.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports