November 11, 2000
Q. Darren, 74. A little bit frustrating for you today?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I hit a lot of good shots and didn't quite convert them. Then I made a couple of mistakes and paid the penalty. That's the course.
Q. Lee Westwood has just finished with a 68; certainly not what you were looking for today.
DARREN CLARKE: No, I'm out there trying to do as best I can. I can't afford to worry about anybody else. But Lee's 68, obviously he's played very -- really well. I can only try and make my birdies, and I wasn't able to do that today.
Q. It's looking increasingly as though the battle for No. 1 in the Order of Merit is going to be between you and him. What do you do now? Put a little bit of strychnine in his breakfast?
DARREN CLARKE: That's the same sort of thing, again, people have asked me all week. But, you know, whoever comes out on top, they'll deserve to be No. 1. Lee's had a fantastic season. I've played not too bad a couple of occasions. We're not going to fall out over it.
Q. All along he's been saying that it doesn't mean that much to him. Is it fair to say it means more to you than it does to him?
DARREN CLARKE: I think it means a bit -- I don't even know what he said. But I don't know, we both like to finish No. 1. It would give each other a few rights to slag each other off for a year. So...
Q. How do you tackle it tomorrow then? You have to think you probably have to go out and shoot a fairly low number.
DARREN CLARKE: I can just do the same as I've done all week. I have to go out and play, and play as well as I can. I gave myself a lot of opportunities today, and hopefully I'll do the same tomorrow and it will be nice to get a few of them.
Q. Give us your thoughts on a round of 74 today.
DARREN CLARKE: Not what I was looking for, but I hit the ball okay. I hit a lot of good shots and didn't knock the putts in; didn't take my chances. As a consequence, I shot a 74.
Q. Nice tidy front nine with one birdie then. It started to go slightly wrong on the back nine.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah. I made a couple mistakes. I missed a couple of flags on the wrong side. And playing Valderrama, you can't afford to do that.
Q. Are you keeping an eye on Lee Westwood today? He just finished with a 68.
DARREN CLARKE: I was trying to do the best I could do, and I started to struggle a little bit around the back nine. So I had more important things to worry about than what Lee was doing.
Q. I've been asking you all week about the Order of Merit, the race for the title. It seems to be a battle between yourself and Lee.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, that's the way it appears at the moment. But this course can produce a lot of surprises, and there's time for one or two yet.
Q. How do you approach things tomorrow?
DARREN CLARKE: Same as I've done all week: Go out and play, and hopefully play well.
Q. You were striking the ball well today. Just a few putts not going the right way?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, you got the run of the ball. You can make a few birdies out here. If you don't, you make a few mistakes and you make bogeys. Unfortunately, it was the latter today.
Q. Still, the Order of Merit race, the spot for No. 1 going to the last day of the season.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it's all going to be very exciting tomorrow, I think.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I played okay. Gave myself opportunities and didn't take them. I missed a couple of flags on the wrong side, as I've just said. I paid the penalty for that today.
Q. Do you feel you're able to play your own game with so much happening with the tournament and the other thing? Does it feel the same?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, today I was hitting the ball fine. I was striking the ball well enough. I had a lot of chances around the front and didn't take them. I hit a fair tee shot on 11 and deserved to make bogey there really. But it was a silly 3-putt from 25 feet. And a lovely shot into the next. Then the next hole, where I sort of lost momentum totally. I hit a lovely 2-iron down the middle of the fairway. It kept trickling, trickling, trickling down to the right, 20 yards down to the right. So instead of drawing a punchy little shot, I now had to hit a 6-iron up over the tree. Had a lovely shot; just caught the left side of the green, kept it left, down in the rough, and didn't get up-and-down, and that sort of lost what I was doing at that stage. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get it back again.
Q. Do you feel a pressure that wouldn't normally be there on Saturday in another tournament, given what's at stake tomorrow?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, probably a little bit. But that's to say I'm more concerned with how I play than anybody else. It was in my own hands at the start of this week, how I played, if I played well or not. Unfortunately, I haven't done that.
Q. Do you feel it's difficult to focus and concentrate with Lee playing just --?
DARREN CLARKE: No, not really. No, I was fine. I was just trying to hit my shots. I still have to hit the fairways and hit the greens.
Q. Your focus was okay?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it was fine. I just didn't quite get the run of the ball.
Q. The shot you hit on 17...
DARREN CLARKE: It looked good -- (inaudible). I had a nice shot, then I misread the putt and made a horseshoe there. But sort of summed up my day.
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