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December 8, 2005

Darren Clarke


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Darren, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Target World Challenge presented by Countrywide.

Good start to the week, and you were just talking about that you hadn't started well here in the past but turned it around today.

DARREN CLARKE: Usually par for me on Thursday here is 82. So if I can keep on playing this way, hopefully I'll give myself a chance come Sunday.

Q. We have non American leaders it looks like. Any particular reason you guys play well here?

DARREN CLARKE: Because there's a lot of non Americans here this week. That might have something to do with it.

Q. It looks like Michael Campbell is heading for a 62. How good is that out there today?

DARREN CLARKE: That's a great score, a real good score. You know, there's opportunities to make a lot of birdies out there, but there's also opportunities to make bogeys and doubles. One missed shot and you can run into a lot of trouble. So to shoot 62, that's a hell of a score.

Q. Is that the kind of course this is normally, a lot of birdies, a lot of bogeys?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, if you drive it well enough, you're going to give yourself a lot of chances, but as I said, if you miss them, you're going to struggle to make pars out of the rough. It's thicker than it has been in the best, so it's going to be even more of a challenge. Obviously Campbell has played really well.

Q. How is your life off the course, you wife?

DARREN CLARKE: She's doing okay at the moment.

Q. Is she back home?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, she's back undergoing chemo again. She's back at home in London.

Q. And your schedule, from the Amex in San Francisco, where did you go, how many places?

DARREN CLARKE: Oh, I don't know. I have no idea. I don't know where I've played and where I haven't played. I don't know. I was in Japan I won three weeks ago in Japan, I lost last week in a playoff in Sun City and then I'm here. Before that I can't remember where I've been.

Q. Does that ever catch up with you? You know, Monty and you and a lot of the particularly British players and Irish players keep a world schedule, and I just wonder, does it wear you down at all at the end of the year?

DARREN CLARKE: Maybe for some of the other guys possibly, but for me it's a little bit different because I haven't played an awful lot this year. You know, any time I have got a chance to play this year, I've really enjoyed going out there and trying to play and trying to compete. So I'm a little bit different. Maybe the other guys where they've had full schedules, they could be a little bit tired at this stage.

Q. And without getting too personal, we've asked you this, but when you're on the course, are you able to focus or do you start thinking about your wife at all?

DARREN CLARKE: Sometimes. It depends how I'm playing. If I'm playing okay, then yeah, I can focus on what I'm doing. If not, then my mind wanders.

Q. 16, could you talk about how you played that? Did you have kind of a squirrelly lie on one shot?

DARREN CLARKE: I had 3 wood, just pulled it a little bit into the trap, hit wedge out and was going to hit another wedge, but some of the fairways are testing to say the least. That's a polite way of putting it (laughing), and I didn't have a very good lie at all, and it was all wet, horrible, sandy, just horrible. I only hit it about 80 yards and got it up and down, though. We're all going to get some tough lies this week.

Q. Testing because the cut is not real close?

DARREN CLARKE: Just go out and take a look at them and you'll see.

Q. Did you have a chance to speak to Ernie Els at Sun City?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I spoke to Ernie quite a lot.

Q. How is he coming?

DARREN CLARKE: He's doing okay. He's doing fine. Obviously last week was his first week back, but his knee felt fine. Even for someone like Ernie he's finding his feet again. When you have an amount of time off, playing competitive golf is pretty hard to come straight back into, but his knee is okay.

Q. Could you talk about what part of your game was working well today?

DARREN CLARKE: I putted very solid today. I holed a couple good putts for eagle and made a couple of solid par saves. If you can get up and get a good roll on these greens, then it gives a little bit extra where you can go after an extra flag or two where you might not otherwise do that. The putter was basically on today and I made most of them.

End of FastScripts.

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