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October 2, 2004

Darren Clarke


RODDY WILLIAMS: Thank you, Darren, for coming and joining us, a great round, 65, just the one dropped shot. I'm sure you would have taken a 5 at the start of today.

DARREN CLARKE: It was tough conditions. The wind was picking up all day. It's blowing out there now. It's been a strange week for me.

RODDY WILLIAMS: How do you see your situation going into the final round?

DARREN CLARKE: I would have been a little bit better off if I hadn't have bogeyed the last, but I expect probably I'll be a minimum of six behind, if not more. My chances of winning the tournament are very slim, but it's certainly good to shoot a good number on a course as tough as that this morning.

Q. You were saying it's been a strange week for you, 15 straight pars the first day. Have you been affected by the flu?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know. I haven't felt great all week. I'm still not feeling great, but I went out and holed some putts and gained some momentum early. It's not something I'm used to, starting with 15 straight pars, very boring, but I made under par, but I wish it was probably five or six better.

Q. Under the circumstances, Darren, would that be one of your best rounds of the year?

DARREN CLARKE: No, not really. I've played better than that quite a few times this year, but that was pretty good today.

Q. You sank some extraordinary putts out there, the one on 13, for example.

DARREN CLARKE: What, 25 feet? It wasn't that far (laughter). 9 was.

Q. I missed that one. I heard the roar going, though.

DARREN CLARKE: You see what I mean? I holed some good putts. We hit enough putts that lip out and horseshoe out and don't go in, so today I got a few that did go in.

Q. The one on 11 wasn't bad, either?

DARREN CLARKE: The one on 10 that I missed from four feet, three feet, that wasn't too bad, either (laughter). I think if you take a look at anybody that shoots a good score in conditions like this, I believe Ernie had 25 putts yesterday, 64. I think I probably had a few more than that and 65.

Q. I think he had 22 or 23.

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know, but if you're going to have a good score, you're going to have to hole putts. That's just the way it is. I managed to hole a few today.

Q. Do you feel you're holing them now? Does that make a difference?

DARREN CLARKE: It makes a huge difference because you can't wait to get onto the next green to try to hole another one. All in all, it was a very good putting day.

Q. Is it a case that when you're standing over the ball on the green you feel more comfortable with your line? What does it do to you?

DARREN CLARKE: Just hit it and sometimes it goes in more often than not. Sometimes it doesn't happen as often as I would like it to happen, but today was pretty good.

Q. Ernie must do about 50 press-ups out there.

DARREN CLARKE: I'd be doing 100 if I was doing that well.

Q. Have the greens kept pace all week?

DARREN CLARKE: The greens are fantastic, probably the best surfaces we putt on all year. They're amazing.

Q. Does it inspire you on the greens, Darren, when you get onto greens like this?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know if it inspires me, but it's easier to hole putts. If you start it on the right line, there's nothing that's going to stop it from going in. From that point of view, if you are stroking it well, you're going to hole putts.

Q. Yesterday evening you were quoted as saying you were only here to make up the numbers.

DARREN CLARKE: I'm still making up the numbers (laughter).

Q. Even with the weather forecast for tomorrow?

DARREN CLARKE: I'm six behind. With the quality of players that are up on the leaderboard, six behind is an awful lot. This is a World Golf Championship event and the best players in the world are up there.

Q. Paul McGinley was saying there was a great reaction all week from the spectators. Have you had the same reaction?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it's been fantastic. The welcome home has been brilliant. Today when I was playing better, the crowds were following me around, so it has been great to come back home.

Q. They're still talking about two weeks ago?


Q. Was there anything that happened during the round that kind of set you alight? Just the putts were the start of the momentum?

DARREN CLARKE: Nothing really. I just kept on going. I didn't miss many greens. I had birdie putts from everywhere. I made a few, missed a few.

Q. Did you wake up this morning feeling any different?

DARREN CLARKE: No. I don't know how I'm going to feel when I wake up in the morning with regard to golf. I have no idea.

Q. How tough is that 18th hole playing?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, I hit it low left into the water yesterday, so it wasn't the easiest tee shot for me today. It's very tough. With the wind into you off the left, the big tree is in play, and obviously you don't want to start it too far left, otherwise the water is in play again. But it's a tough hole and it's going to play very tough all day, but I certainly made it a bit tougher than it actually is.

Q. Would you like to see it back in Ireland again?

DARREN CLARKE: I'd like to see it back in Ireland a little bit earlier in the year, which would be fantastic. This is a great course, but it would be nice to see it on a links course.

Q. At a different time?

DARREN CLARKE: A little bit earlier in the year.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Darren, thank you.


End of FastScripts.

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