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August 27, 2003

Darren Clarke


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Darren Clarke, winner of last week's World Golf Championships NEC Invitational.

Darren, first let's talk about that. Another great week for you on TOUR. You kind of ran away it on Sunday, it looks like.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I got off to a very good start and just kept going. I didn't pay any attention to a leaderboard until 13, I think, whenever I holed that long putt, and at that stage, I was four or five ahead, I'm not sure.

I was very comfortable out there son Sunday and just kept hitting it, go find it and hit it again. Fortunately it was low enough to win.

TODD BUDNICK: But you are already a special temporary member on TOUR and now you have the win. If you took your earnings, including the World Golf Championships, you would be in about the top 20 on the Tour, and you are second in the European Tour. That's a pretty exceptional year.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it's been a disappointment for the majority of the year because I have not won until last week. I've been playing well enough, but I haven't been able to convert my game into winning opportunities. It was good last week for everything to click and come into place.

TODD BUDNICK: Last year, Sergio made mention of trying to become the first to win on both sides, is that of any interest to you?

DARREN CLARKE: No, no, I'm just going to go and play and see how I get on and play well on a more regular, frequent basis, especially over here.

Q. Talk about the difficulty of winning on a course where nobody has played and what you have to do to prepare yourself for it?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, I wasn't really fit to play any golf until today, so I came up yesterday for half an hour and then quickly went back to the hotel again.

I played the back nine today and certainly it was very difficult with that breeze blowing out there. And some of the par 4s are really going to play very long and very tough this week. The fact that nobody has played a tournament here before, I think that evens it out an awful lot.

I think one of the reasons for my success last week at Firestone, as well, was it's the fourth or fifth time I've been there. I know most of the courses in Europe because we tend to keep going back to the same ones. But coming over to America now, there's no question that familiarity with the golf courses makes them a lot easier. Because of that, this week, you know, we are going to short side ourselves a few times that we wouldn't you wouldn't necessarily think that until you played the tournament.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know, those holes, those par 4s are very long on the back nine. That's there's a couple of really long ones there on the back nine. Again, it's like any course we go to now on the PGA TOUR, you've got to play very well to give yourself a chance to win. You've got to combine your ball striking with your ability to get it out there far enough to spin it to keep it on certain areas of these greens. I believe it's an Arnold Palmer course, this one, and the only one I really have experience on is the K Club in Dublin, which he's done as well. I've played okay there; hopefully I can play okay on this one.

Q. What's it like playing in a tournament immediately after winning another one, is it a feeling of confidence or what is it?

DARREN CLARKE: It's just a sense of trying to continue with where I left off last week and just keep on playing. Fortunately this has been one of the ones I've wanted to play in all year. That's why I asked Tiger for the exemption early in the year. The Boston area is somewhere I wanted to come and play and thankfully I'm here.

Q. You have the opportunity to play as much as you want next year, what would be the attraction to you adjusting your schedule to play a whole bunch of events or would you think of playing the whole year here?

DARREN CLARKE: No, I think I'm probably going to play about 16 next year, something like that. Atlanta is in about three weeks time, the American Express, will be my 13.

So it's not really to go to be a whole lot different. I'm going to take up my membership; I get into Kapalua, the Mercedes is the first one, and then the Sony is the week after and I'm going to try to play a very similar schedule to what I've done this year.

Q. Why did you want to come here?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, I think there's more Irish in Boston than anywhere else. There's going to be a good a chance of getting Guinness in this area as anywhere else, so that had a lot to do with it. (Laughter.)

Q. What did you end up doing after the British Open?

DARREN CLARKE: The pilot, thankfully took us here, took us to Providence. Then gravity seemed to disappear from me later on in the evening.

Just around here. There's enough good Guinness to hang around here.

Q. Are you at a level in your game where you measure your season by how you do in majors?

DARREN CLARKE: I think we all measure ourselves by the bigger and better tournaments and the majors are obviously the premiere tournaments in the world and the ones that we all want to play well in. Overall, I've had a very disappointing major season, even though I led at Augusta at the very start. I started off well but went downhill from there.

But I've been working with a lot of different things this year and it's been good to see them all come back together this week. I went back to Butch Harmon and working on some things with him, trying to change my swing a little bit and everything is just coming back again.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DARREN CLARKE: I didn't give myself a chance to win. The difference between winning and giving yourself a chance, if you don't give yourself a chance, you not everybody wins every time they are in contention.

Q. If I'm not mistaken, I think you're the only one besides Tiger now to win two WGC events. What kind of a statement is that, is it the type of game you have suits the type of courses or what is that all about?

DARREN CLARKE: $2 million extra to spend oh, I forgot about the 50.

I don't know, when I'm playing well, and I get myself up there in big tournaments, I usually carry on. It doesn't particularly bother me what tournaments they are. It just so happens that a couple of times that I've played well over here have been in the World Golf Championship events.

Those, again, are the ones that if you ask the majority of the field they would like to win after the majors, I think you've got you four majors and then TPC at Sawgrass, and after that, I think the majority of the guys would probably say a World Golf Championships after that. I've been very fortunate to have two of them. As for why, I don't know.

Q. Do you have any experience in the Boston area?

DARREN CLARKE: I haven't been here that much at all. As I said, I was looking forward to coming here this week and I've had a great time so far.

Q. Do you have great memories of the Ryder Cup here?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it was fantastic. It was a fantastic sporting event. You know, the Europeans played great on the first two days and then the Americans came out and played unbelievable on Sunday and deserved to win.

You know, it was just one of those amazing sporting events that a lot of people will remember for a long time. It was good to be part of it.

Q. Have you spoken to Tiger?

DARREN CLARKE: He's here. I've just seen him on the range. "Just keep doing what you're doing," is what he said.

Q. Being friendly with Tiger, do you get any sense of what it means to him, the Foundation, the charities?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, Tiger does a lot of fantastic things for charity. And it's great that this week, again, a lot of the proceeds are going to his foundation. He does really support charities and tries to help an awful lot of people less fortunate than himself. I think it's fantastic that he does it.

Q. Inaudible?

DARREN CLARKE: I think last is more than adequate to sum it up. He's just get playing fine. He's just getting a few bad breaks on the course. The ball doesn't roll for everybody all the time. He had a couple years where he'd played fantastic and got a couple of breaks, and he's going through an unfortunate run, but as for a slump, I don't think so.

Q. You're great friends with Lee Westwood and David Duval, as someone who is playing well and you're good friends with them

DARREN CLARKE: It's tough because they are both really good guys. You know, David's been having a really terrible time, of late where he started to play a little bit better again. You know, you don't lose the magic touch overnight. I think the persistence and perseverance will keep him going. David Duval was the number 1 player in the world and still has the same amount of talent. Both of them are the same, I think both of them will start getting a little bit of confidence and moving back in the right direction.

Q. How come the Guinness tastes so much better in Ireland than it does anywhere else?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't particularly care how it tastes as long as it's black and it's all right. (Laughter.)

Q. Do you ever notice that?

DARREN CLARKE: Oh, I do notice it. Don't have to travel as far. I've tried some in Dublin, as well, now and again.

TODD BUDNICK: I think on that note, thank you very much, Darren, for visiting with us today.

End of FastScripts....

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