August 23, 2001
GORDON SIMPSON: Darren, well played again today, just like the man before you. You shot a nice round of 66. A lot of birdies and an eagle out there, and you are obviously in good form.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah. I played nicely today -- again today. Seems from the way I played last week -- buried the putter; got the putter working a little bit better. I drove -- had quite a few poor drives, but managed to get away with most of them.
GORDON SIMPSON: How is the course playing today? Has it been softened up by the rain? Has it made it more accessible.
DARREN CLARKE: I think some of the pins were certainly more accessible, but with the rain softening it up, you could spin it back an awful lot on the greens. So you had to be very careful of not hitting it in the wrong places and what have you. But overall, the course was pretty fair, but gave everybody an opportunity to shoot a good score.
Q. Eagle on 2?
DARREN CLARKE: Hit driver, 5-wood to four feet.
Q. Followed it with --
DARREN CLARKE: A drive, 9-iron to six inches.
GORDON SIMPSON: That helps the confidence.
DARREN CLARKE: That's a pretty nice start. (Laughs). That's about 6 better than usual at this place for me.
GORDON SIMPSON: Is that the key to a field of this quality, to make sure you are in there right at the start?
DARREN CLARKE: I think so. The course does not give birdies away easily. There is opportunities, but there is a lot of opportunities for dropping shots, also. It certainly was very good for me to get off to a good, solid start today.
Q. You had plenty of time to reflect on last week, Darren?
DARREN CLARKE: I did. Thank you. It's just that I putted poorly. I played very average last Thursday and then played nicely on Friday. Shot 69 -- sorry, 64 net 69 on the card, so missed by one. I played okay and couldn't quite manage to make anything. But seems a little bit better this week. Found a key to work on and certainly the ball is rolling a little bit better, so far.
Q. You found that key personally?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah.
Q. What was it?
DARREN CLARKE: It was just my hands were too far behind the ball. Just something very simple.
Q. Did you come down here early to practice?
DARREN CLARKE: No. I went back to Philadelphia. I've got friends up there. I played at a new course up there owned by a friend of mine called Pine Hill and I played at Merion on Monday morning. I thought the weather was going to be better in Philly, so that's why I went up there to practice, as opposed to staying in Atlanta where it was too hot and humid to do any productive work.
Q. What do you think of Merion?
DARREN CLARKE: Merion is fantastic. Pine Valley is the best course in the world, but Merion is pretty good.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much. Darren, well played again.
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