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September 28, 2004

Darren Clarke


RODDY WILLIAMS: Okay, Darren, thank you very much for joining us. Sounds like you've got a bit of a cold there.

DARREN CLARKE: No, flu. I've had it all week. I can't get rid of it.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Tell us what you've been up to for the last week since the Ryder Cup and your thoughts on coming to Mount Juliet this week.

DARREN CLARKE: I spent Tuesday and Wednesday sobering up, and Thursday was -- I was doing a golf day at the Grove, and then Friday I was doing a charity day at Queenwood. Friday evening after Dublin I did my foundation with the kids all weekend, and then the 25th yesterday at Druids Glenn and went to dinner last night and got up first thing in morning and have been here.

RODDY WILLIAMS: No rest for you.

DARREN CLARKE: Not at all.

RODDY WILLIAMS: What about coming here to Ireland, the American Express championship? You've got the best players in the world. Give us your thoughts on the week ahead.

DARREN CLARKE: The last time I was here was the week before the Ryder Cup and I was working very hard on my swing, so I didn't play particularly well when I was here the last time. I hope to play an awful lot better than that. I'd certainly like to have one at home.

Q. Compared to a major, how much does the Ryder Cup take out of it physically?

DARREN CLARKE: If I won a major I could probably answer that question. It's a long, difficult week, but you're trying to focus and work as hard as you can all week for your teammates, and certainly the week after you feel very tired. I don't know how the guys managed to go and play at all last week.

Q. You've slipped downhill since yesterday. Is there any threat to you playing in the tournament?

DARREN CLARKE: No, I'll be fine. There's days that are fine and days that are bad. I had it really bad the middle of last week, and then on Sunday I was really bad again. It's up-and-down. I need to go to my bed and take some medicine.

Q. Post-celebratory trauma, Darren?

DARREN CLARKE: I would love to say yes, but unfortunately, no. I think it might have been the fact that I might have picked up the cold on Sunday night, last Sunday night in America, and it's just gotten progressively worse.

Q. I asked Lee the same question. How did you celebrate and for how long?

DARREN CLARKE: I thought you saw us. You were in the pub, allegedly.

Q. I've never been in a pub, Darren.


Q. How long did the celebrations go on for?

DARREN CLARKE: I carried on on the plane and then after that that was it.

Q. When was the last time you had to play with such a bad dose of the flu?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know. I'm fortunate. I never get sick. I just feel weak and lethargic.

Q. You look it.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah. Walking up-and-down around 7000, whatever it was, at Druids Glenn yesterday, didn't do me any good yesterday, either.

Q. You're the only European player that's basically stepped up to the plate and won one of these.


Q. Two of these, sorry. What's it going to take for the other guys to follow suit?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know. I guess it's a question of plan, the right week. You've got a lot of the European guys, a majority of the team players here, as well, and they're obviously all playing very well. Any one of those guys can come through and win this week. It's obviously disappointing that Vijay and Phil are not here, but it's understandable. There's a fantastic field. The European team at Oakland Hills was very strong and any one of these guys can win.

Q. Do you put the whole team aspect of the Ryder Cup behind and can you take that on into an individual event?

DARREN CLARKE: Probably take it on a little bit into the individual event because of how you've managed to perform down the stretch under the ultimate pressure. And then the Ryder Cup is a huge amount of pressure there. If you come through that like most of us did, it doesn't end there.

Q. Looking back at the Ryder Cup, are you surprised that Europe won by such a wide margin?

DARREN CLARKE: I think it was a very flattering score. We all played very, very well. We gained the early momentum, which is something we talked about early on over there, and we never relinquished it. That point of David Howe and Paul Casey, whenever the Americans were almost getting back in, the momentum swung our way again, and we never gave it up.

Q. Do you have any post-tournament regrets about missing that putt on the 18th?

DARREN CLARKE: No, none whatsoever, none at all. Ideally, if I had to do it again and there was a scoreboard there, I would have said to Davis, good-good on the last green, but there was no scoreboard there.

Q. Do you think he would have said the same thing?


Q. Based on the friendship between you?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, and it was a game that nobody -- sometimes people deserve to win, sometimes people deserve to lose, and our game I deserved to lose, but there was no scoreboard there.

Q. As a result of the Ryder Cup and the ease with which Europe won it in the end, the focus is now switching to European golfers bridging the five-year gap since Paul Laurie won in Carnoustie. Why is there such a gap and what are you going to do about it?

DARREN CLARKE: Try and win one (laughter). I don't know why there's such a large gap. I think because we possibly play more match play growing up in Europe than what the Americans do, and it's a totally different game than stroke play. Albeit, we won the singles this time, but usually the Americans beat us in singles more, in stroke play. I think because of the four-ball and the foursomes, because we grew up playing that way we're a little bit better.

Q. So can that gap can bridged?

DARREN CLARKE: Absolutely. It's not going to be that much longer before a European wins one.

Q. Like who?

DARREN CLARKE: You've got the likes of Sergio who's come on and off, you've got Padraig, you've got hopefully myself up there, you've got Lee that's coming back to form again. You've got so many really good players that are coming through, Paul Casey finished 6th at Augusta last year. That was a great result. You've got Justin Rose who's getting more used to the PGA TOUR over there, which is going to help him in his efforts to play more.

You've got so many other guys, hopefully it won't be that much longer before we win one and probably win more.

Q. What demands does this golf course place on a player this week?

DARREN CLARKE: You've got to putt well this week. Now the fairways are -- obviously I haven't been out there yet, but the last time we were here Tiger described them as the best he's ever putted on. I believe they're great again. I believe the course is a bit longer. I don't think we're going to get as good a weather as the last time we were here. These greens are very undulating and you've got to putt well; you have to.

Q. Just one little incident and I never got a chance to ask you about it. When you chipped in on the 17th, Davis Love came over and shook your hand. Did that surprise you?


Q. In the heat of that competition?


Q. It's rare to see an opponent congratulate you.

DARREN CLARKE: We do it all the time. You're just not watching closely enough.

Q. But at that stage in a match?

DARREN CLARKE: It's just what we do. It's called mutual respect.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Darren, thank you very much for coming in.

End of FastScripts.

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