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June 29, 2005

Darren Clarke


GORDON SIMPSON: Darren, lovely to see you back again on the golf course. It's been a difficult few weeks obviously, but maybe you might start us off by giving us an update on how Heather is at the moment.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, she's doing okay at the moment. The drugs that they were giving her after the chemo had a seriously adverse effect on her heart, put her in a very serious situation, but she turned the corner and is slowly recovering. But she didn't get out of the hospital until last Tuesday or Wednesday. She's back at home now slowly getting better.

GORDON SIMPSON: That's good news for everyone I think, and the family. So tell us about being back here, a place with very fond memories for you, I would imagine.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, the course has changed quite a bit. Obviously I'm not going to be the first one to say that, with the shaping of the run offs into water and a few new trees. The course is certainly very, very tough, the rough again is tough to get out, so certainly very, very tough this week.

Q. How many shots more difficult is it from the day you shot 60, for example?

DARREN CLARKE: Probably 12. 72 would be a pretty good score. (Laughing.) But the rest of the course is in fantastic conditions. The greens are probably the best I've seen here. The actually the course condition is the best it's been, and it's going to be the toughest it's been.

GORDON SIMPSON: Probably missing last year.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, probably, but I know they have been working non stop to try to get it the way they want for the Ryder Cup next year, and by the look of things, they are certainly going in the right direction.

GORDON SIMPSON: We'll open up to some questions.

Q. Ian Woosnam was here a few weeks ago and made quite a few suggestions, changes the greens and the run off areas, shaping the fairways and the trees. Do you agree with the changes and do you think they improve the course? Will it give you a better shot in the Ryder Cup?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know. I think they are all improvements. I don't think they are negative in any way. Certainly made the course tougher.

But, you know, the Ryder Cup, September next year, what sort of weather we get in Ireland is going to make it even more difficult. We've got very strong wind, cold wet windy, so the course is going to play very tough. He suggested the trees should go in and the other trees should go in to make the course more favorable to us. If that's the way Woosie sees it, he's the captain, and, well, the captain is always right.

Q. Fair enough. Would you suggest any other changes?

DARREN CLARKE: Us play off the ladies tees would be all right no, not really. It's all very good.

Q. What's your schedule?

DARREN CLARKE: Still not 100% sure. But at the moment I'm playing next week, and then the Open. Deutsche Bank, I'm not sure, and then I have two weeks off after that. Then PGA, NEC what's after that? And then I can't remember after that. But that's all up in the air, just depend how it progresses.

Q. How did you manage to play any golf at Wentworth?

DARREN CLARKE: How did I manage to play any golf?

Q. Especially at Wentworth, did you find release on the golf course?

DARREN CLARKE: No, I think Heather went rapidly downhill. She had been getting worse, just the effects of the follow up drug started kicking in from Wednesday. When we left Wentworth at the Tour dinner early on Wednesday evening, she wasn't feeling well was it Tuesday night? And she was admitted to the hospital the next day and gradually got worse and worse and worse. She wanted me to play, but, you know, it became sort of at that stage where I couldn't and I had to leave on Saturday before I teed off to go into the hospital.

But certainly my mind wasn't on the golf; it was going out and hitting it and finding it.

Q. You were 4 under.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I scored okay. I wouldn't say I was playing okay. You know, it was one of those things where it was just hit it and find it, hit it and find it.

I've been trying to work at home, an hour or two, hour here, an hour there, between going in and out of London. So it's been quite difficult to find some time to do any work but whenever I have, the swing has been not too bad.

Q. How was your play today?

DARREN CLARKE: Okay. Okay. A couple under, 3 under, something like that. I played okay. Whether I can do it again tomorrow, I don't know. We'll wait and see.

Q. Has her treatment changed?

DARREN CLARKE: Her treatment, of course her chemo has been treated, and then the follow up drug was to keep on to try and treat the remnants of the cancer that were left; it was a very small amount. At the moment it was a reaction after two small doses of follow up drug, and it has been unbelievably rare for anybody to have a reaction like she had. But at the moment, obviously that drug has been stopped. She's not taking it at the moment. So it's a road to recovery at the moment, and then go forward from there.

Q. What is that drug called?

DARREN CLARKE: I'd better not. She was just obviously one of the few people that reacted to it.

Q. What are your expectations this week?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't have any. I don't have any at all at the moment. Expectations on the golf course are not overly important to me right now. So I'll just go and play and see how I get on, good or bad, whatever.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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