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October 1, 2003

Darren Clarke


GORDON SIMPSON: You did well at the Accenture Tour Match Play, you knocked off the NEC Invitational. How about the travel?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it would be all right. I thought the course was pretty good yesterday. The greens are very firm and it's going to be a difficult week because anything not spinning is going to trickle off the green. The way I've been playing since NEC, obviously I have a chance this week.

GORDON SIMPSON: A lot of people have made the point about the greens being very firm.

DARREN CLARKE: Well, it depends what they're going into the greens with. If they're going in -- I think this week if the longer hitters keep it on the fairway, they're going to have a huge advantage because short irons are going to be able to spin a little bit more and make it a little bit easier.

ORDON SIMPSON: You definitely had a chance to win on Sunday, just didn't quite --

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it didn't quite happen. Every week since then I've played pretty well.

ORDON SIMPSON: We'll open it up to questions now, please.

Q. Although you didn't win on the weekend, how pleased were you for Lee that he did? It looked like quite an emotional congratulations there.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it was great. I would have preferred to have won, but Lee played a -- made some great putts on the back nine and it just shows that he's still a world class player, and being able to perform the way he did on the last few holes, he certainly knows how to win.

Q. It's good to see him back.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it is. As I say, he's a world class player.

Q. Did you notice a difference in him when he was in a slump in terms of his personality? Outwardly he looked okay, but you saw him in the locker room.

DARREN CLARKE: He was a little bit quieter and not quite as bubbly, shall we say, as he used to be. He always had his determination and his will and he practiced very hard, and even at the lowest times, he was still determined to keep on going.

GORDON SIMPSON: Where does the NEC win sit with you in terms of your achievements?

DARREN CLARKE: Right up at the very top. The last time I spoke to you I was on the way to celebrating. It was a very enjoyable evening in Providence. It was great to win in the manner in which I did. That was the most important thing for me. I want to put myself in that position again as quick as I can in one of the bigger tournaments.

Q. Was it just putting on Sunday?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah. My whole game last week was great from tee to green. From tee to green last week my game was very good, and my -- I hit so many good putts that burned the edges, and that was Sunday as a typical day. Hopefully there are some weeks they drop in and some weeks they don't. I've had days where none of them do.

Q. At Firestone you said right from the word go you said I have a different mindset from the Thursday off on Thursday. You seem now to have a quiet determination and you were focused. Do you feel as though you can bring that to here and whatever other tournament you play in?

DARREN CLARKE: Yes, I hope so. I hope so. I've been able to do it for the most part every week since NEC. I've been in contention every week I've played since then, so I think I'm getting better. I'm a lot calmer on the course and a lot more comfortable, and certainly NEC has done a lot for my confidence knowing that I can do it.

Q. In the early rounds in particular when you got a bad bounce or a bad shot, it didn't seem to bother you the way it maybe has in the past. Is that something that you think you've conquered now?

DARREN CLARKE: Conquered is a very big word, especially for me. I think I've gotten a little better at dealing with it. If I can get better at it again, hopefully I will have better results.

Q. I heard you're playing Las Vegas next week?

DARREN CLARKE: I am playing Vegas next week.

Q. Because?

DARREN CLARKE: Because of my proximation on the money list over here. Because of my position getting into the Tour Championship, because my win on the World Golf Championship doesn't count as official money. I have approximately 1.85 in regards to getting into the Tour Championship, so that's right on the bubble.

Q. The money you got from NEC, which has probably been spent by now, it counts toward the Tour Championship, but it doesn't count toward the money list?

DARREN CLARKE: No. I'm category 1 on the PGA TOUR, but my money doesn't count -- my World Golf Championship doesn't count for the world money list, but it does count in terms of getting me into the Tour Championship.

Q. Have you been to Vegas before?

DARREN CLARKE: Yes. I like it there.

Q. Dumb question.

DARREN CLARKE: Very dumb question. You must think you have somebody else sitting here (laughter).

Q. On the same subject, what's your schedule for the rest of the year?

DARREN CLARKE: I'm not quite sure yet. It's up in the air. I've got some commitments and some that are pending, but I'm not quite sure what I'm doing, where I'm going. I know I'm playing Vegas next week and then depending upon how I play this week, whether or not I play in Madrid before Volvo, the Masters, and then come back to Houston for the Tour Championship and then have a week off, I think, and then possibly Japan, Million Dollar, Hong Kong, LA for Tiger's tournament, and then I think I'm done.

Q. Can I ask will you play the Seve trophy?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, I can't. That goes against the Tour Championship. If I make the Tour Championship, I will be in the unfortunate position of having to choose between the two.

Right now I don't know where I'll be on the money list, but if I play well this week that should be enough to get me into the Tour Championship. In case I was right on the edge, that's why I entered Vegas a month ago because if I would have had the opportunity to play the Tour Championship and missed it by $20,000 or something --

Q. You know that's for five days next week, there's a Pro-Am.

DARREN CLARKE: I'll still enjoy myself.

Q. Are you going to play in Hawaii and on the West Coast next year?

DARREN CLARKE: Yes. My first Tour events next year are Mercedes and then Sony. After Tiger's tournament finishes on the 14th, I think, so I get home on the 15th, and then we're going to Laplander with the kids, Heather and the kids, we're going to see Santa, and then get home and spend ten days at home and then going to Hawaii. Laplander is way up north. I'm not going to have much time off, but that's where I'm starting off next year.

Q. Tiger is on the cusp of breaking the Tour cut streak over here, which is 113 in a row. Can you comprehend that number?

DARREN CLARKE: No. There are weekends that are nice to have off, but he doesn't seem to have that obviously. He's been phenomenal since he came out on Tour. It's not a surprise. He's a quality player. He's got so much determination. One of the things that separates Tiger from other people is his determination. He's really got the mindset where if he wants to finish 60th as opposed to 61st. He never finishes down there, but he has that mindset, and I think he wants to set records, and he's doing everything he can to do it.

Q. Is determination a nice way of saying stubborn?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, roundabout sort of way.

Q. Do you have any opinions on these events where you've got all four of them this year in the U.S., and the vast majority of them have been in the U.S. for the past five years? Do you think there needs to be a more concerted effort to take at least half of them overseas every year?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, it's back in Kiawah again this year -- Seville next year. The tournament has been more round the world than the other ones. If it was up to me, I'd have every one at Firestone. I wouldn't mind that at all. I was very happy over there.

Q. I was told four in the U.S. this year is kind of an anomaly.

DARREN CLARKE: They do move, but it is good to see them moving about, but I enjoy coming over. Personally I enjoy coming and playing over here, the facilities, the weather, all the courses we go to over here are fantastic, not that they're not good in the rest of the world, but it just seems it's a very easy place for people to commute to from whatever part of the globe they're coming from, and America seems to be the easiest place for everybody to get to. It would be good to see them move about, but they're doing a great job over here.

Q. Do you think they're going to the best courses possible?

DARREN CLARKE: The best of their type.

Q. Will you elaborate?

DARREN CLARKE: The courses are very good. They're a very, very stern test. This one is a little bit different. The difficulty here is in the firmness of the greens this week, which is not always what we see. We see a lot of ones where there's water in play, very deep rough, so this is a different one. Certainly the World Golf Championships have been very good to me, so I've enjoyed all the courses we've played.

Q. From what you've seen of this course would you say it's a great test or a tough test?

DARREN CLARKE: I would say it will be a tough test.

Q. Not necessarily a great one?

DARREN CLARKE: You're trying to put words in my mouth. I don't know if it would be a great one because there isn't -- the challenges are not as I've just described as in carries over water, get the clubs right, things like that. The challenges are to be very patient and hit it from the fairways because as I said at the start some of the flags are going to be very close to the runoffs, and if you get into those runoffs, it's going to be nearly impossible to get up-and-down. Other courses we play at look a lot better for the public to watch where we're hitting over water, Sawgrass, things like that, but this is a more stern test for us. This is different this week.

GORDON SIMPSON: Darren, thank you very much. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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