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May 21, 2004

Darren Clarke


GORDON SIMPSON: Very nice playing today, round of 67, and I think if you got the putter, you are going to be dangerous.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, he played just as well today as I did yesterday, frustrated on the course yesterday, and same thing today. 7 under is about as bad as it could possibly be for two rounds.

GORDON SIMPSON: How good could it be?

DARREN CLARKE: An awful lot better. But at least today, I had a lot more putts that were going at the holes, but still managed to dodge and swerve.

GORDON SIMPSON: Is that going to be the plan now for the rest of the week to try and get that aspect?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I'm very happy with what I'm doing from tee to green, with how I'm striking it, and I just need a few more putts.

Q. How long did you spend on the practice putting green last night?

DARREN CLARKE: About an hour and 50 minutes, something like that with Thomas Bjorn inaudible.

Q. Yesterday you went several holes without holing a putt, you said you had two putts for 12 or 13 consecutive greens; you must have holed a few today to improve.

DARREN CLARKE: I tell you what let me think where they were. The first the 10th hole was my first hole, and I holed it from six feet, a little dance around the green, so that was all right. Then my next birdie was on the 16th; I holed it from about 15 feet for birdie. And I 2 putted from the front edge on 17. And then the par 5, I had a 2 putt I was just off the green in two and 2 putt from 25 feet there. On the eighth hole, I had a wedge to a foot.

Q. If 15 feet is the longest you holed over the two days, so is there something the matter with your putting, are you putting badly?

DARREN CLARKE: I was striking the putts very poorly yesterday, while today I was striking them a lot better but didn't seem to make any difference, so hopefully it will do over the weekend.

Q. What's the answer to the question?

DARREN CLARKE: The answer is patience, which is certainly not one of my virtues, as you well know. But if I keep hitting good putts, hopefully they are going to start going in, and today I hit a lot of good putts.

Q. Did the two guys you talked to offer a different perspective on what you were doing wrong or were they saying essentially the same thing?

DARREN CLARKE: Essentially the same thing, but in a different way. I was coming out of my putts, which my head was moving and that was causing me to come up this way. So that's what I'll do.

Q. And how many good chances today did you miss?

DARREN CLARKE: A lot. I don't know. I had a lot of chances today.

Q. Did you change your putter today like you did last week?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, wanted to break the other one.

Q. Given that you no longer have got a belly to rest it against, what is your take on that situation?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't use one and I don't really have a take on it. I used it for a couple of weeks and found it very helpful, but personally, I found it fun, I would consistently be using it. At the moment, no plans, unless this weekend I'll go back to it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DARREN CLARKE: Long putter same thing we've been talking about.

Q. The R&A said yesterday that the belly putter seemed to give an advantage, whereas they didn't think that the long putter did, and that that's reopened the debate.

DARREN CLARKE: See, I'm not privy to such information as that. A lot of people who do use it putt very well. So you know, I don't know what they are going to do to try and ban it. I'm sure they are going to see if there's opposition for it, but they make rules and we have to live with it.

Q. Which side of the fence would you be?

DARREN CLARKE: At the end of the day, you still need to make a good stroke to hole the putt, so I don't think it makes a difference what you're using. I can miss them just as easy with a belly one as I can with a short one.

Q. Have you had any contact with Butch this week?

DARREN CLARKE: Not yet. It could do probably for me today.

Q. Where are you now at the halfway stage, have you got the game good enough to win it?

DARREN CLARKE: I've definitely got the game where I can get myself into contention, but my hitting has to improve. If I am going to have a realistic chance of winning, that's as straight as I can put it. Tee to green I'm very happy with what I'm doing.

GORDON SIMPSON: Okay. Back to the putting green. Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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