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October 29, 2003

Darren Clarke


GORDON SIMPSON: Welcome to the Volvo Masters, a tournament you've won before, and sadly you're not in a position to win the Order of Merit, but nevertheless, a satisfying season.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, Ernie has obviously played fantastic and clearly deserves to win the Order of Merit. I had an opportunity to close the gap at Dunhill but I didn't putt well enough on the Sunday at the final day at St. Andrews and with the play I played in Atlanta the following week, that was more or less it.

Last year, I had a year poor year, I can't remember where I finished on the Order of Merit, 20th or 19th. That was a very poor year last year. But to play as well as I have done without winning as many tournaments as I felt I could have done, I would still say it's been a pretty good year. I've definitely improved a lot and hopefully I can continue to do that next year. It's certainly a goal, I would to love win the Order of Merit. And finishing second three times is good, but I don't want to finish second. So it's certainly something that I can improve upon my position this year.

Q. Can you list these improvements? You've obviously been thinking about it.

DARREN CLARKE: Well, all of the things I said at start of the year. I think I started the year 29th in the World Rankings and I'm currently 12th.

Q. Technically, what's made them?

DARREN CLARKE: Everything has done. I changed new equipment, new type of ball --

Q. Temper.

DARREN CLARKE: Temperament has been much better through a lot of work with Karl Morris.

Q. Caddie?

DARREN CLARKE: Caddie J.P. Fitzgerald, John Newton, Steve Hampson, everything. Everything goes together.

Q. Can you talk about your relationship with Lee Westwood and what it's like for the two of you being both firing on all cylinders again?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it's been great to see Lee comeback to form. It's been a very, very tough three years. I don't need to tell you that. He's stuck it out and worked very hard on his game. He's been down a few times, but he's kept on having the belief and he's persevered. All of that hard work he's put in has come back again.

As disappointed as I was to not win Dunhill, because of the Order of Merit, I was still very pleased that Lee won. I was with him on the last round and he just did what he used do. He knocked in the putts all the way around on the back nine, and that's what he was one of the best at.

Q. Just explain the rivalry between you, you obviously want him to do well but at the same time --

DARREN CLARKE: Well, it's like anybody wants to. It's a selfish game and we all want to win. But, on that particular day, he putted better than I did and that's why he won.

Q. And you don't find it, because he's your friend, you don't find it difficult to say "well done" to him?

DARREN CLARKE: No, not at all. I was saying "good job" to him all the way around and vice versa. So no, not at all.

Q. What travel plans have you got lined up for the end of the week?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know. I don't know what to do. As you're probably aware, I'm 26th on the Money List, the U.S. Tour Money List. So I need five people to pass me if I miss, but it is a $4.8 million event. So I would prefer to play in THE TOUR Championship because it's been a dream that I've always wanted to play.

But if I don't get into it, so be it. I've given it my best, I've given it as good a go as I could do. You know, and no way would it deter me, I'm looking forward to the Seve Trophy as well. So I've got, no matter where I'm playing, I think it will be a very good week next week.

GORDON SIMPSON: You said it was one of your ambitions to play in every top event in the world.

DARREN CLARKE: The three tournaments I haven't played yet, one of them is THE TOUR Championship, the other one is the Mercedes Championship and the other one is the Grand Slam of Golf. So I can't do anything about the Grand Slam of Golf, not this year, until next year. But THE TOUR Championship I have an opportunity to play in and Mercedes I am playing in January.

Regarding this week, I won't know until half 9:00 on Sunday night, so I don't know if I'm going to stay here, go home or what I'm going to do yet.

GORDON SIMPSON: Will you have a better idea once you see who has made the cut in America.

DARREN CLARKE: Possibly, but the gap between me and 30th position is not an awful lot. So if I get in, I think I'll just about sneak in. But obviously, can just as easy miss by a couple thousand dollars. We'll see.

Q. Did you ever contemplate going to the Chrysler?

DARREN CLARKE: No. I went to play -- I added Vegas to my schedule after Atlanta, and that was five weeks in a row and I was just done. I couldn't think properly. I couldn't do anything so I needed a break and go home and reacquaint myself with Heather and the kids because I haven't been home an awful lot.

Q. I meant this week's tournament.

DARREN CLARKE: I know. I was getting onto that. I couldn't -- I was never not going to play here. I added Vegas to give myself an extra opportunity of making THE TOUR Championship, but it doesn't work out because I didn't play well enough but after that I was not going to go back because I was always going to come here and play.

Q. Do you have plans to add more American tournaments next year?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, I have taken my card so I am going to be a full member over this next year. And I think looking at my schedule I have approximately 16 tournaments for next year over there.

But again, a lot of those are the majors and the World Golf Championships, so that counts for both tours.

Q. That raises an interesting question. Where do your winnings from the World Golf Championships count, do they count in the States or do they count in the States next year?

DARREN CLARKE: Why are you asking me?

Q. Just curious.

DARREN CLARKE: I've got no idea. I've got no idea.

Q. Do you not nominate yourself, do you consider yourself a European Tour player or U.S. tour player?

DARREN CLARKE: Both. I don't know where, I don't know. I'm sure they can sort that out.

Q. Of all these things that you said, you said it's a bit of everything, can you pick out the one thing that's meant the most, would it be the temperament or would it be the equipment?

DARREN CLARKE: Probably. Probably temperament has been a lot better consistent-wise this year. I've been a lot more calmer. I've been a lot calmer, a lot more accepting of my poorer shots for the majority of the season, as you would probably attest to, I would hope.

But it's just trying to get better and trying to improve in every area.

Q. Has it surprised you how calm you can be?

DARREN CLARKE: Probably. Probably, yeah because as you know, it's not one of my fortes, but I've done pretty good this year.

Q. How much effort and how difficult has it been to reach that stage where you can find that calmness?

DARREN CLARKE: 35 years probably.

I've put in a lot of work with different people and everything has come together. My work with Karl Morris has been very good. It's taken my frustration away almost as soon as I hit a bad shot as opposed to dwelling on it, it's gone. It's made it an awful lot easier.

Q. Is Augusta the biggest disappointment?

DARREN CLARKE: If I had been leading after three rounds and played the way I did in the last round, yes, it would be but I was only leading after one round. It was disappointing to play the way I played after. But my major performances this year have been very average. That's been the most disappointing part of the lot.

And saying that, I have managed to win another World Golf Championships event, so it has not been wholly bad, but top players are measured by how they perform in the majors. This year was very poor, so that's something that hopefully I will improve upon again next year.

Q. Was it the same, in summarizing the majors would you say it's the same thing all through them?

DARREN CLARKE: Not at all. I think Augusta but after I led in the first round and didn't play well after that. And it really hit home with me at how probably unfit I was at that stage.

U.S. Open, I played fantastic from tee-to-green and I couldn't make it from six (feet). I couldn't hole it from anywhere.

The Open, I played very poorly. And the U.S. PGA, I played very well, apart from my double-bogey, triple bogey start. So definitely, they were all poor for different reasons, really.

Q. How are you getting on with Steve Hampson?


Q. Does he drive you hard?

DARREN CLARKE: Very much so. That's why I want him to work with me.

He's pushed me harder and harder every week, so he's very good. I'm actually in the gym now in about 20 minutes again with him. He's going to go to everywhere I'm going between now and the end of the year. And I'll keep on going to my own gym at home. All of my stuff will be delivered on the 10th of November. I've already got the whole room all ready. I'll have no excuses now. I've paid a lot for it, so I don't need it to gather dust.

Q. Where are you going between now and the end of the year?

DARREN CLARKE: Next week, I'm not sure where I'm going yet.

Then after that, the following week off, I've got half the next week off and I go fly to Singapore on a Thursday to do a golf day on a Friday. Stay in Singapore on Saturday and fly from Singapore to Tokyo to do a golf day there in Tokyo on Monday. And I fly on Monday evening from Tokyo to Johannesburg for the Million Dollar and play there and fly from Johannesburg the following Monday to play in Hong Kong. And I fly from Hong Kong to L.A. for Tiger's tournament and then I go home for a couple of days and I go to Lapland for three days, and I go home for Christmas for nine days and we leave for Hawaii on the second of January.

Q. Is this to see Father Christmas?


Q. Does he play?

DARREN CLARKE: I give him a lesson or two. (Laughing).

Q. Has anyone advised you against that?

DARREN CLARKE: Against that?

Q. Against that run of things you're about to start?

DARREN CLARKE: There's nothing I can do. You know there was one or two reasons why I was doing my day for Barclay's in Asia, but a couple of things fell through. But because I've got to honor my commitments, it's obviously not ideal preparation for the Million Dollar, but I'm going to honor my commitment.

Q. Can you fit in the World Cup (Rugby)?

DARREN CLARKE: What time zone am I? I'm halfway around the world, I might be able to just nip down there. If I'm very close, I will definitely look at it. But they are doing okay.

Q. What was Steve's initial assessment of your fitness?

DARREN CLARKE: He was actually quite surprised that I wasn't as bad as he thought it was going to be. He said, "You're not as big as I thought you were going to be," which I disagreed with him. He said, "Well, you wouldn't be walking six or seven miles a day."

He's been very, very good for me, very tough, very stringent and he's doing a lot of things with me, diets, stretching, all sorts of stuff, a little bit of boxing, all sorts of stuff.

Q. He doesn't make you run, sprinting, repetitions?

DARREN CLARKE: Did you say sprinting? J-o-g is about as hard as I go at the minute.

Q. What equipment are you getting?

DARREN CLARKE: At home, it's a multi-gym coming, there's a treadmill coming, there's a bike coming, and there's a cross-trainer coming and there's free weights all coming. The place is going to be full. The gym is going to be quite full.

Q. What does John Newton do for you?

DARREN CLARKE: John stretches me. All resistant stretching, because he's so strong that he can do the resistance stretching better than anybody else.

Q. You talk about the equipment coming to the house, how much of your wardrobe has gone out of the house?

DARREN CLARKE: Oh, I had fun the other day. Probably removed probably about 100 pairs of trousers, 200 shirts, probably 200 golf shirts.

Q. Sell them to Monty?

DARREN CLARKE: I wouldn't quite say that. But they are all away to charity.

Q. When was the last time you had cheekbones?

DARREN CLARKE: Are you trying to tell me you're seeing them again? Don't know. Probably when I was in school playing rugby when I was training as much then as I am now.

Q. You've got a punch bag, you said?


Q. Doing some boxing?

DARREN CLARKE: We are doing by hand. He's got the gloves and everything.

Q. Are you good?

DARREN CLARKE: Useless, absolutely useless.

Q. Didn't do it as a kid?

DARREN CLARKE: No. Only the rugby.

Q. Being No. 2 on the Order of Merit, do you have a view on last year's winner and this year's winner not being here?

DARREN CLARKE: As for last year's winner, are you talking about Bernhard Langer, winner of the tournament?

Q. Retief.

DARREN CLARKE: Retief, because the game is more worldwide now, you can't question guys for being here or not being here. Retief's goal, I would imagine, would be to get in THE TOUR Championship and that's probably why he's not here.

Ernie, because of his position, the margin is so wide, he can't be caught. Again he's trying to get some rest before next week for THE TOUR Championship. As much as I would like to see them here, it's wholly understandable why they can't be here.

GORDON SIMPSON: Should we let Darren amble to the gym? Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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