May 24, 2001
SCOTT CROCKETT: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you. Darren, welcome to the Volvo PGA Championship. Maybe just to set us off, run us through how your week has been up to now and looking ahead to tomorrow.
DARREN CLARKE: Last Friday evening in Hamburg, I made an emergency phone call to Butch to see what was going on when I was 5-over with whatever was left for the next morning. We had a bit of a chat and he got Claude, his son, to come over. He arrived on Sunday, and I met him when I came back, and we worked on Monday, Tuesday and yesterday morning. We put a lot of work in, swing feels much better. Hopefully, I'm going to see some results this week.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Anything specific?
DARREN CLARKE: It wasn't the direction I wanted to, so that was worrying me quite a lot.
SCOTT CROCKETT: It's fixed now?
DARREN CLARKE: I hope so. We'll find out. It feels a lot better, I know.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You've got a good record here, Darren. Second twice, and maybe looking forward to going one better?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it's a big tournament. It's one that we all would like to win, and certainly I've had a few chances in the past, and haven't managed to win here, but hopefully this year, I will give myself another chance and finish it off this time.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Any questions for Darren?
Q. Can you just give us a brief outline of what Claude said?
DARREN CLARKE: I wasn't making a proper shoulder turn because I wasn't getting behind the ball. And when I wasn't getting behind the ball, my arms were collapsing at the top and making me very narrow and struggling to get at the ball on the way down and having to hit it more through my hands than I should do.
Q. How familiar are you with his teaching?
DARREN CLARKE: It's the same thing. Butch and Claude went through a lot of previous tapes before Claude came over and we were working on certain things, and then we spoke to Butch in the evening. And I've got the software in my computer now, which Claude brought over with him, and I can tape a swing and send it over and do all that sort of stuff.
Q. Do the pair of them work together?
DARREN CLARKE: Yes, they do.
Q. And you've worked with Claude before?
DARREN CLARKE: Yes.
Q. How old a chap is he?
DARREN CLARKE: Claude is 32.
Q. This is the first time --
DARREN CLARKE: Yes, it is. I've been trying to get it organised for a while, but it is the latest software that Claude has brought over with him. It is the same software that they use in the golf school in Vegas.
Q. You use it with a videocamera?
DARREN CLARKE: Yes, a camcorder. Plug it into the laptop and go from there.
Q. Have you tested it out yet?
DARREN CLARKE: Yes. It's idiot-proof. If I can use it, it would have to be.
Q. Had Butch been watching on television last Friday?
DARREN CLARKE: He was, yes.
Q. What did he say?
DARREN CLARKE: Give up. (Laughs). He told me what I was doing and made a few suggestions for the weekend, but I did a lot of good work whenever -- I have done a lot of good work with Claude.
Q. But the good round was Friday. He had been watching Thursday?
DARREN CLARKE: Which good round was Friday? I didn't play any good holes on Friday. No, it was Saturday morning.
Q. The 67?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, but that was only because of going birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie, par, whatever. That wasn't because it was set up with solid birdies and pars from the day previous. That was only because I went out and did a few things on the Saturday morning.
Q. How much have you spent on all of these computers and videos?
DARREN CLARKE: I spend far too much on gadgets and computers and gadgets and things are some of those gadgets, so I spend a lot of money.
Q. Are you one for using them for a couple of weeks and thinking: "To hell with this" and getting rid of it?
DARREN CLARKE: That's me.
Q. You would rather play games on them than use them?
DARREN CLARKE: No, battery doesn't last long enough for that. But I do upgrade them quite often. But this one will be very beneficial for me. Obviously, with Butch and Claude in Vegas and me playing the majority of my golf over here, it will make it much easier to get as many or as few lessons as I wish. It comes back to me with lines and voice and all sorts of things on it to what I'm doing.
Q. How often would you ring Butch during a tournament?
DARREN CLARKE: Depends on how I'm playing. If I'm playing okay, I just speak to him every -- once a month or something like that. If I'm playing perilous, more emergency phone calls.
Q. How desperate were you when you made the call? Was it your suggestion that Claude come over to you?
DARREN CLARKE: No, it was Butch's suggestion. That was his.
Q. Was that desperation from your point of view?
DARREN CLARKE: From the way I was playing very, very poorly those first couple of rounds. I hit the ball in all sorts of directions, and I wasn't happy, so I to make a few -- take a few steps to fix it.
Q. And he's gone now?
DARREN CLARKE: No, he left yesterday afternoon.
Q. Is Butch still quite rude to you on the phone?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, and I'm equally rude back. (Smiles).
Q. And any funny exchanges on this occasion or not after you rang up?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, but you could not print them, but yes there was. There was a few of those still star things that you put on paper; there was a few of those.
Q. When you were playing as an amateur and these problems arose, how did you sort them out then?
DARREN CLARKE: I have no idea. I have no idea. Probably didn't bother me as much in those days. I could afford to get away with an odd bad round, but you can't do it out here.
Q. I didn't think you ever had those problems as an amateur?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I did, but so did everybody else.
Q. How well do you know the West Course and what would it mean winning this championship?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, there's a few premiere tournaments in Europe. Obviously this being one of them. Volvo Masters being another one. Not detracting from all the rest of the tournaments, but some flagship events. I have won the Volvo Masters and I would like to win here. I enjoy the golf course. I think it is a great test. You've got to hit a lot of different shots around here and I think the condition they have got it in this week is fantastic, fits in with the weather. It's going to be hot and fiery, so there's going to be a lot of importance in keeping it on the fairways, so I think a better knowledge of this golf course is going to be very important this week.
Q. Are you a member here?
DARREN CLARKE: I was a member up until three weeks ago.
DARREN CLARKE: I wasn't using the facility at all. I played once last year, and maybe once the year before, so it was silly to keep my membership going.
Q. Will you play Sunningdale now?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I play Sunningdale most of the time.
Q. Are you a member there?
DARREN CLARKE: No. I've never been a professional member at Sunningdale. There's no professional members. But they are very good to me. They give me full courtesy of the course.
Q. Your swing was obviously going seriously out of kilter, and yet the public would find it difficult to understand how that arises, a player as good as you are, works as hard as it as you do, for it to get that bad; how did it happen?
DARREN CLARKE: Because my hand-eye coordination is very good. I grew up playing at home in Ireland in the wind where you've got to hit a lot of knock-down shots. You've got to use your hands a lot to hit different shots, and because of that, I can swing purely and still save it with my hands because I've grown up doing that. But, in order to be consistent and hit the ball the way I want to more often, then I have to make my swing a little bit technically better. That's how I can do it.
Q. I was wondering if it's hurtful when Sunningdale says no pros?
DARREN CLARKE: No, I'm delighted they have given me courtesy of the golf course. I'm very happy to go along and play if they will let me. It doesn't bother me in the slightest.
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