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May 22, 2003

Darren Clarke


RODDY WILLIAMS: Darren, thank you very much for coming in, six under par 66, leader in the clubhouse at the moment. Nice way to start the week.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I played very well. Missed one green today, which was the 15th. Shot 66 with 32 putts, so overall, very good at the end. I'm pleased after the start. I had two good shots on the 17th, 3-wood and 9-wood and holed it, the last I hit 3-wood, 3-wood over the green and had two putts. I was patient all day and a few good things happened at the end.

RODDY WILLIAMS: You've been playing well all season. This round has been coming for a while.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, if you take a look at my stats there, I've played very well, missing one green. I still had quite a few putts today, but I was very patient. I started working with Harold Swash this week again on my putting and made a few little small changes and certainly felt very good.

Q. Did you wonder after eight holes if anything was going to happen for you?

DARREN CLARKE: I had chances everywhere. Wentworth is always going to give you a few chances, and that's why I stayed patient and waited for it to happen because I knew I was hitting the ball well.

Q. You've been second twice here; is it something high on your portfolio to win?

DARREN CLARKE: It's high on everybody's portfolio to win. It's the Volvo PGA Championship and one we all want to win. Certainly I would love to get an opportunity to win this week. The first round, it's an awful long way to go, but I'm pleased to get off to the start I have.

Q. What did Harold do with you specifically about your putting?

DARREN CLARKE: We worked on a few things, keeping my hands leaving the bottom head, so it wasn't breaking down so much.

Q. Is it the same putter that you have in the bag?

DARREN CLARKE: It's a Titleist. It's one that I go back and forth.

Q. How close were you to winning the last two years; do you look back on them as chances gone?

DARREN CLARKE: I can't remember Monty winning. Why are you asking me difficult questions; you know better. I don't remember seconds. Seconds are a waste of time for remembering. (Laughter.) I think Monty won. What did he win by; four? The guys didn't really have a chance. The other time I was second, I can't remember that, either. (Laughing).

Q. How unusual is it to go a round without a bogey and when was the last time before today?


Q. How unusual is it for you to do that?

DARREN CLARKE: As unusual as you would presume. Knowing me like you probably do.

I think it's the a sign that I'm working in the right direction. It's ease to fool around with no bogeys if you miss one green. If you keep the 3-putts away it's not too bad. Today on 15, it was the first green I missed that has not gone into the right-hand bunker. It seems to have my name in that bunker every year, I don't know. Why I had a clear lie, really nice bunker shot to about four feet and I holed it.

Then on the next hole, I hit 5-wood, sand wedge straight down the flag. Somebody said that it hit the flag and spun back to 30 yards, 30 feet or something. I knocked the first one five feet past and holed one coming back. Those two putts are two momentum putts and they are ones I have not been making all year, for quite some time. Even though they are not overly difficult putts, in terms of turning around and going with the momentum, they are huge and I did them which I haven't been doing. And then to finish eagle birdie is very good.

Q. What is it about Wentworth that suits your game?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't know. I like the golf course, traditional-type golf course. I play a lot at Sunningdale as well. So here and Sunningdale, they are a great test. You have to keep the ball low, especially when it's windy because the wind tends to swirl and keep it low under the trees.

Q. Do you agree with or understand Padraig's rationale?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, there's courses I don't want to play at because my record there is not that good. It's a whole different mindset whenever you do go to a golf course that you don't enjoy playing or your results don't match up to what you are doing the rest of the time.

He's probably playing really well at the moment and he wants to keep his confidence high going to the U.S. Open. I don't know, but that would be my perception on it. I have certainly missed tournaments where the golf course I don't like.

Q. Do you enjoy playing at The Belfry?

DARREN CLARKE: The Belfry is on one of my lists that I don't really enjoy, but I was there.

Q. What have you done after Augusta, starting so well there?

DARREN CLARKE: Probably a little bit too heavy.

Q. Is that something you've been working on since?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I've been working on a few different things. I basically wasn't fit enough to cope with the challenge that was presented. I wasn't able to carry my -- be as mentally sharp as I needed to be because I am not in as good of shape as I needed to be.

Q. Have you ever felt that before?

DARREN CLARKE: Have I felt that before? No. But after, as I've told a few other people here, after what happened at TPC and Sawgrass when I finished bogey, bogey as well, I believe it was Friday night, there's mistakes creeping in at the end of the round that are happening too frequently for me to ignore.

Q. Have you changed your fitness regime?


Q. This is a change; you have always stood out against it.

DARREN CLARKE: I haven't said it was wrong for other people to do it. I just didn't feel it was the right thing for me to do. But with me trying to identify reasons why I have not been playing as well as I should be, it's pretty logical to take a look at the one area I haven't addressed. That would be very remiss of me if I didn't address it.

Q. What exactly have you changed?

DARREN CLARKE: I have a trainer that I'm working with, a guy called Barry Grinham who works with the Formula I guys and a few of the other Formula I drivers. He's put me on a much higher carbohydrate diet to keep my energy level up and he's going to start putting me through my paces next week.

Q. What have you been and what are you now (weight)?

DARREN CLARKE: No answer and no answer. (Laughter.) You just threw that one in.

Q. You said you're taking in carbohydrates; what were you eating today?

DARREN CLARKE: I had Power Bars, I had raisins, all of the energy sort of food that I should be eating.

Q. I'm sure I saw you eat a Jelly Baby.

DARREN CLARKE: It was not a Jelly Baby. It looked like one. He told me to eat it. It's not my fault he tells me to eat these things. It just found its way into the bag.

Q. Cigar still?

DARREN CLARKE: They are in the bag, currently.

Q. What's he trying to get, a leaner and fitter Darren Clarke or a more productive ?

DARREN CLARKE: I've asked him to try and help me become fitter, and I think if I can become a little bit fitter, then hopefully I will see better results on the golf course.

Q. Have you tried that?

DARREN CLARKE: I've had one or two but I think as you will agree with the other changes that I had addressed over the winter, I'm a bit more serious about what I'm doing than for quite some time. This is again another part of it. So my commitment is much stronger than it was before.

Q. Has he warned you what you're in for on the physical side?

DARREN CLARKE: Yes, we have spoken about it. I think he's taken it on as a bit of a challenge, as well.

Q. How many Jelly Babies does he give you?

DARREN CLARKE: Do you want some? You look as if you could do with some, as well. (Laughter.)

It was not a Jelly Baby. It was something else. But I had two today, thank you very much.

Q. You also look as though you are enjoying it more as well?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, again that was another one of the changes I made at the start of the year where I'm starting to work with Bob Rotella. That again is helping me on the golf course and off the golf course, as well.

Q. The guy you were working with last year when you won the English Open?


Q. Do you work with him anymore?

DARREN CLARKE: No. Just Bob Rotella.

Q. Was there any single thing during the course of the winter that made you decide on all of these courses of action?

DARREN CLARKE: Not playing well enough to how I felt and how I feel like I'm playing. I wasn't doing that.

Q. Not fulfilling --

DARREN CLARKE: Not fulfilling what I felt I could do. We had a long conversation at the end of last year and we decided on a course of action, which was tough for me to make the changes that I have to do. But it was a course of action which I chose I had to do to improve.

Q. Did you initiate that conversation to Chubby?

DARREN CLARKE: He had seen that coming for a long time and knew it was coming. He knows me pretty well. When things aren't happening, it's time to re-address things and move forward. I had become steal and nothing's happening.

Q. Do majors figure?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, everything goes, just playing better. This season, I'm very happy with the way things have progressed. I haven't won yet this season but in America, I feel I've played pretty well. I've given myself a lot of chances. I've had a pretty cold putter now for about a year and a half probably and I'm trying to weather the storm and wait for a few to go in at the right time. Hopefully I will see the results. I think I will.

Q. How tired did you feel at Augusta?

DARREN CLARKE: Pretty tired. Not if I was going to collapse, because physically I am pretty strong anyway. But the mental mistakes, that's what happens. It's no good for me doing everything else right and not doing the one thing that's going to make all the difference.

Q. So you are not far enough into your fitness regime to have that take any effect?

DARREN CLARKE: No, I addressed that after Augusta. I didn't do anything last year.

Q. Would you run through your birdies, please.

DARREN CLARKE: On 9, I had a low driver and I punched a 6-iron to about eight feet, holed it for birdie.

No. 11, I hit driver, sand iron to about three feet and holed it for birdie.

The next hole I hit driver, 5-wood off the green, 35 feet, two putts.

17, I hit 3-wood off the tee, soft 5-wood to the back of the green to about 18 feet and then the last, I hit a good 3-wood and then an easy 3-wood off the green to about 40 feet and 3-putts.

Q. Did anyone tell you it's time to get your act together?

DARREN CLARKE: Probably Chubby and Heather at home. Just the people close to me. Just chipping it way. Pretty thick to get through to.

Q. Have you taken that gym you've rarely used --

DARREN CLARKE: How do you know I rarely use that gym? Have I got a new gym? I am in the process of getting that organised, yes. In the meantime, I continue to use Paul's.

Q. Is there a punching bag involved?


RODDY WILLIAMS: Darren, thank you very much. Thanks for your time.

End of FastScripts....

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