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December 10, 2005

Darren Clarke


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Darren, for joining us for a few minutes. Great day out there. Talk about what things are going right for you.

DARREN CLARKE: Pretty much everything. I played pretty well after making bogey on No. 1 and gave myself a lot of chances. I got another couple of eagles today, covers up a few mistakes. But 64 is a lot better than I could ever shoot on this golf course, so I'm really pleased with my position coming in, and tomorrow I hope to give myself a chance to win.

Q. Is it your game plan to beat up the par 5s as much as you can?

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Five eagles on the par 5s this week.

DARREN CLARKE: This week on Tuesday I got a new driver, got a new R7 425, a brand new one, and I hardly ever put something straight into the bag, but this one was straight in, and it's making a huge difference to my distance off the tee. There's a couple of traps taken out of play, and that's helped a great deal on the par 5s. Any time you make a couple of eagles a week on the par 5s it's pretty good. I've made five; I don't know what's going on, but another couple tomorrow would be nice.

Q. You're having a better week this week. What's going on?

DARREN CLARKE: Lack of beer, if you want to know the truth (laughter). I could give you a diplomatic answer, but I prefer to give you the truth.

Q. Why is that?

DARREN CLARKE: Because usually this is a very relaxing week for me at the end of a very hard season. It's always very nice to be here, and I do enjoy the tournament, much more off the course than on the course in the past. Whereas this week, unfortunately when I got off to that 65 on Thursday, that was my week over (laughter). I'm just saving my 77 for tomorrow (laughter).

Q. Are you disappointed in that 65?

DARREN CLARKE: The 65 on Thursday? It wrecked my plans for the whole week (laughter).

Q. Starting off with a bogey wasn't the greatest start. How did that happen?

DARREN CLARKE: I hit a good tee shot into the fairway, had 70 to the flag, and the flag was just five on. I tried to cut a little lob wedge off the right hand slope and bring it back. Instead of it bouncing left, it bounced right on a slope that's coming back the opposite way. Just into the first cut and had a funny tort of lie, didn't get it very close, hit it to ten feet and missed.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Let's go through your round.

DARREN CLARKE: Well, you got 1 there where I made bogey.

No. 2, I hit driver, 4 iron onto the green to about 40 feet, two putts.

No. 5, hit driver just in the right rough, cut a little 5 wood from hardly anywhere, 216, hit it three feet in for eagle.

No. 6, I hit driver, 9 iron onto the green to about 15 feet in for birdie.

No. 7, I drove it in that stupid thing in the middle of the fairway, into that rough, took a penalty drop, hit it on the green and hit 8 iron to 15 feet, holed it for par.

No. 11, hit driver, 4 iron to about eight feet behind the hole, holed it for eagle.

No. 13, I hit 3 wood off the tee, and then hit a 5 wood to the edge of the green, two putted for birdie.

No. 16, hit 3 wood off the tee, had a so so lie, chopped a little 5 wood from 235, pitched it about three feet behind the hole and it went to about 20 feet, missed.

On the last, hit 3 wood off the tee, sand wedge onto the green, spun it back to about 12 feet, holed it for birdie.

Q. How do you know when you're playing well? Is it because you're hitting it close, or do you judge by your score?

DARREN CLARKE: I won three weeks ago, lost in a playoff last week, so I'm playing all right; won Taiyeiho Masters and then Sun City, when Jim Furyk chipped in on me.

Q. How close was your pitch mark on 16?

DARREN CLARKE: That much right behind it (indicating two feet).

Q. What's your schedule for the West Coast coming up in the wintertime?

DARREN CLARKE: At the moment, my first tournament is going to be Riviera, Nissan, and then La Costa after that, and then going to Doral after that. But for obvious reasons, my schedule is all over the place. I don't know what I'm going to do, but that's what I'm planning to do.

I'm starting in Qatar, Dubai, last week of January, first week of February and then over here.

Q. No Abu Dhabi?


Q. You're not taking this week so seriously that you're going to the range, are you?

DARREN CLARKE: Only before play, thank you. I've actually worked quite hard before play, but not afterwards. I've hit some putts every day after I played, but that's about it.

Q. You showed up ten minutes before your tee time last year on the range.

DARREN CLARKE: Did I? That was a bit early, wasn't it (laughter)? I remember last year on the 1st tee in the last round, after having a rather salubrious evening, to put it bluntly, the guy was calling my name, the starter was calling my name, and he just about got to Darren, and my ball was in the air on the 1st tee, so I'll give him a little bit longer tomorrow.

Q. Does it surprise you at all to be playing this well this late in the year? You've had kind of a strange year.

DARREN CLARKE: I haven't played an awful lot, it doesn't really surprise me. I've played here before, and all the other guys have had long hard seasons. I've had a hard season but not in golfing terms, so I haven't played an awful lot, so maybe it's a little bit easier for me.

Q. You call London, the time difference is so great, it would be too late now, but in the mornings to you talk to your wife before you tee off?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, they're eight hours ahead.

Q. Is this just free money this week, Darren, or is there something special about coming here?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, it's Tiger's event, and Tiger is a very good friend. It's another one of the tournaments where you've got an opportunity to pit against him and try and beat him. He's the best player in the world, so any time we get that chance we want to take it.

Q. When you beat him at Match Play what was that like?

DARREN CLARKE: He was feeling sorry for me. He let me win that (laughter).

Q. Is that what you did in the other eight majors?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah. "Well, you can have them. I don't want them."

End of FastScripts.

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