home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 8, 2005

Darren Clarke



JULIUS MASON: If you wouldn't mind giving us some opening comments on the golf course and then we'll go to Q & A, please.

DARREN CLARKE: The golf course I played for the first time, I played 18 yesterday, and it's a great challenge. It's very fair, a little bit different to have so many par 4s around the 500 yard mark, but it's in great shape. It's a little bit soft at the moment, so I think the scoring is going to be pretty good.

Q. Darren, can you talk about the lack of European winners of majors in the last few years and why you guys are so successful in Ryder Cups and generally speaking not so

DARREN CLARKE: The Ryder Cup is totally different because it's match play. It's totally different format. We can't really compare match play and stroke play.

As for stroke play, it's a pretty regular question that you just asked of why we haven't won them, and we just haven't performed as we need to. Hopefully someone is going to end up winning sooner rather than later.

Q. Could you please give us an update on Heather's condition and let us know how difficult it must be playing on the Tour with your concerns with your wife at home?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, at the minute she's doing great. We've just spent two weeks, the whole family, down in San Diego and Barbados. We've been lying on the beach not doing an awful lot, so I'm certainly very relaxed coming into this week, to say the least. And now she's almost back to full health again, and things are good at the moment, which certainly makes it a lot easier for me to come back out and try and play. Although I think I'm a little bit still too relaxed from the last couple of weeks.

Q. How did you play 17, and is there any particular type of player that hole favors this week?

DARREN CLARKE: I think I'm going to play 17 like 99.9 percent of everybody else, try and hit the fairway and try and leave yourself a sand wedge in. It's 650 and not an awful lot of roll on the ball, and even for the longest guys this week, it's going to be a pretty tough hole to reach in two.

I think the hole doesn't really favor anybody the way it's playing at the moment. I think it's going to be a three shotter for everybody.

Q. How did you find the rough?

DARREN CLARKE: Thick, tough. You don't really want to be in it too much. Everybody is going to miss fairways out here, especially with 500 yard par 4s, you miss the fairway, you know you're going to have a very, very tough second shot and you've got to try and reach the green. It's very penal. It doesn't appear as if it's that tough, but it's very thick. There's a huge premium in hitting it on the fairways.

Q. I wonder if there's any comparison to Oak Hill, which was also Kentucky bluegrass?

DARREN CLARKE: When did we play Oak Hill?

Q. Two years ago.

JULIUS MASON: When Shaun Micheel won it.

DARREN CLARKE: I think it was a little bit longer there, a little bit thicker, again. But here you can occasionally get a decent lie and you can get lucky, so if you do get it in there, most of the time you're going to be trying to advance it forward. The course is very fair in that if you do hit it in the rough, you've got a chance to hit it forward and then try and recover from there. There's not really there aren't as many bunkers to carry or you don't have to chip out sideways, so it gives the opportunity to take the shot on early on or lay up and go from there.

Q. Don't know how much of a sportsman you are, but the oddsmakers have got Tiger at 2 to 1 for this thing, which is extremely good odds. I'm wondering if that sounds about right to you and if that's anything that's touchable?

DARREN CLARKE: I'm prone to a little bet or two, yes, so I do pay attention to those types of things. Who's after Tiger?

Q. It's Vijay and

DARREN CLARKE: What place is he?

Q. 6 or 7 to 1.

DARREN CLARKE: Your prices over here are notoriously short, anyway. Tiger at 2 to 1 with the record he's had in the majors this year, it's hard to disagree with that.

Q. You haven't competed now for three weeks since the British Open. Do you feel you have the competitive edge you need for a tournament like this or are you a bit short in that respect?

DARREN CLARKE: Probably not. I finished I was very frustrated when I finished on Sunday at the Open at St. Andrews. I played well enough to finish very high up in the tournament and I didn't do that, and I had no interest in touching a golf course until now. I wanted to get away somewhere, and Barbados was fantastic for us. I did play a little bit of golf there on the Green Monkey, which is a new course down there. So I have practiced a little bit, but from a competitive point of view, I'm probably rusty, but so be it.

Q. As a budding golf course architect yourself, what do you think of golf courses with par 5s measuring 650 yards and par 4s of more than 500 yards?

DARREN CLARKE: It's one way of trying to combat how far the ball goes these days. It's one way of doing it, and that's what I think we're going to see more and more of. 500 yard par 4s, I hear there's a couple of them, but they're playing yesterday I was hitting I didn't hit anything more than 5 iron into any par 4. So, you know, they're not playing that long. You know, there's still ones where you're hitting in 7 irons, 8 irons, 9 irons. So although they look long on paper, if you hit the fairway, there's still chances out there.

I think 500 yard par 4s and 650 yard par 5s are going to be the norm in the future. I think that's definitely the way they're going to go.

Q. Is that the way you're going to be designing them?

DARREN CLARKE: No. If I wanted to toughen up a golf course I'd make the greens rock hard and make the rough a little bit more challenging around the greens. I wouldn't necessarily go for making the hole 650 yards and 500 yards long. If you make the fairway or the greens rock hard, then there's a huge premium hitting it on the fairway, and that's the other way. You either go length or you go making the greens rock hard. On this, they've gone for length.

Q. Just to follow up on that, specifically about 17 here, do you like that hole? Do you not like it? Is it a good hole, mediocre?

DARREN CLARKE: I'm not a huge fan of any time you're hitting a shot into a green and it's almost like a blind shot, because from where you can see the top of the flag but you can't see the putting surface and you can't see really what you need to do; I'm not a huge fan of that.

I'd much prefer to be able to see the bottom of the flag if I can. An uphill shot with a wedge shouldn't be straightforward, but everybody is going to be landing in the same area trying to play the hole the same way. It's just a three shot par 5. If you play it properly you're going to have a sand wedge in your hand for your third shot, so you should see lots of birdies.

Q. Can I get your thoughts on finishing a tournament with two par 5s?

DARREN CLARKE: Certainly things can change. Say 17, if you do miss the fairway off the tee on 17, there's cross bunkers that come into play, and if you can't clear those with a bad lie, then all of a sudden you're looking at a seriously tough par 5.

And 18 is a reachable par 5, so anything could happen there. But certainly it's going to give those whoever is leading a chance to make a good round on them, so I think it'll be an exciting finish.

Q. In your opinion, compared to the other three majors, what makes this major special? What is special about this PGA?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know, I think all the majors are special. This one some of the courses we've gone to these past few years have been unbelievable. You know, last year Whistling Straits was sensational, and here, playing Baltusrol, it's my first time here. I haven't been before. I've heard a lot about it, and it's certainly surpassed what I've been told.

You know, it's another great one. It's the last one of the year. It's one that the guys, if you haven't won one or whatever, or in Tiger's case, he's looking to finish off the year. So it's a long way between Augusta next year.

Q. Jack broke Ben Hogan's record here in the U.S. Open in '67 and again broke it and then Lee Janzen tied it. Do you see any chance of the PGA scoring record going down this week?

DARREN CLARKE: It depends. What is the record?

Q. 265.

DARREN CLARKE: 265, which is 15 under? It depends; if it stays soft, somebody could go low. But you're going to have to play extremely well to do that. That sounds very obvious, but there are chances out there. If you drive the ball straight enough, you can shoot some low numbers. Whether you can do four of them or not, I don't know, we'll see.

Q. Getting back to family for a moment, what's the most difficult part of balancing being a father of two kids and being on the Tour? And when the kids were born, where were you?

DARREN CLARKE: Say that again? I missed the end of it.

Q. When they were born; were you on Tour?

DARREN CLARKE: No, I was at home. I was at home.

It's fine. We balance things out as well as we can. Unfortunately with my wife's illness, it's been very difficult, but she's fine at the moment, and that's why our holiday these past couple of weeks has been very, very important to us. She was critically ill not so long ago, eight weeks ago was it about eight weeks ago? She was very, very ill, so to get away to Barbados for a couple of weeks for a holiday was fantastic. They understand that I've got to come away and play, and I try and make the best of my time when I'm at home.

It's not easy, but we just make the best of it as we can.

Q. Was there any particular feature of your game that you were unhappy with at St. Andrews? Was it your putting?

DARREN CLARKE: My putting was very poor, very poor.

Q. Have you worked on that at all? Have you done anything with it, or was there anything you could do with it?

DARREN CLARKE: Not an awful lot. I've worked a little bit since I got here. I got here on Saturday evening and played yesterday and played today, and I've been working away on it. I've had a couple of good tips from Thomas Bjorn that I've been working on at the moment. It feels better at the moment, so we'll see when the tournament starts.

Q. How much was that down to the style of greens you face at St. Andrews, and do the ones here give you a better chance at actually holding the ball?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't think it was anything to do with the greens at St. Andrews. I think it was me wielding the putter very poorly was my problem.

I think these greens, as good as they are this week, if you get a feel for the speed at all, somebody is going to make a lot of putts. You know, they're not like a lot of venues where we go to where there's a huge amount of break on them. They're very fair and reasonably straightforward to read, so if you do get a good feel going on, you're going to make a lot of putts.

Q. At St. Andrews you appeared to need to be confident with your putts because you had to really rap them to get them in?

DARREN CLARKE: I was trying to bang them into the holes, just the hole kept moving whenever I was hitting it. Certainly that was a very frustrating week for me on the greens. I played well from tee to greens, but very poorly when I was on them. Hopefully my game will resemble the game at St. Andrews from tee to green and I'll put a little bit better this weeks.

JULIUS MASON: Thanks very much for coming down, Darren.


End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297