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May 11, 2006

Darren Clarke


RODDY WILLIAMS: Terrific first round and somewhat unexpected after our chat yesterday. Can you explain that one to us?

DARREN CLARKE: The last thing I expected to be doing is sitting here at one o'clock talking to you guys after the way I played yesterday. I went to the range after I finished, just after I finished the Pro Am and was on the range with Pete. It was either on the range and break a few clubs or have a rest and come back later and I chose the second one, and went back on the range until 6 o'clock last night, worked for a couple of hours with Pete and managed to find something that semi-worked.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Feeling pretty good from the moment you stepped on the first tee this morning?

DARREN CLARKE: No, not particularly. I hit quite a few good shots but also quite a few poor shots, but managed to keep them in play and they were not too disastrous. Managed to grind a few holes and capitalized on the good ones.

RODDY WILLIAMS: How did you make the eagle?

DARREN CLARKE: Good drive, good five wood to 15 feet. It was one of those easy ones.

Q. Does an eagle like that kick start things for you?

DARREN CLARKE: Yes, a little bit. You know, it was a very good tee shot and the second shot was sort of not quite the way I tried to play it. It wasn't a bad shot, but not quite the way I wanted to play it, so there was good and bad there. You know, I had enough good shots today to be encouraged. I look forward to getting back on the range again and working on it a little bit more.

Q. Not a great start on the tenth?

DARREN CLARKE: No, I didn't do anything particularly wrong. The greens were a little bit soft this morning had 95 I think to the flag and had sand iron to six feet short. Then spun it back 40 feet off the green, elected to putt it and left the putt up five feet short and missed the second one, so you're going to make mistakes now and again and that was one of them.

Q. Was there anything you were working on the range or just reacquainting yourself with the clubs?

DARREN CLARKE: Just reacquainting with the clubs more than anything. Just nothing really new, not that much difference.

Q. What's the long wooden pole in your bag?

DARREN CLARKE: For hitting Billy across the arse when he misbehaves.

It's just for me putting across my back just to stretch and turning and stuff. It's not usually in the bag, I have it every time I'm on the range and my practice rounds. Billy just couldn't be bothered putting it in the locker room.

Q. You fancy your chances of making the cut a little more now?

DARREN CLARKE: Unfortunately so. I've always time to throw in an eighty or something tomorrow, don't worry about that.

Q. inaudible?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, most definitely. My last competitive round in Houston, where I shot 68 and I played really, really well there. Not quite as good today even though I shot a better score. But still, when the mind is obviously elsewhere and preoccupied with other things, it does seem to benefit my golf, at times not all the time but now and again it does. If I had been able to learn that a long time ago I would be a much better player.

Q. When do you start thinking about winning the tournament?

DARREN CLARKE: Here or the 71st hole no, before that.

Q. Have you got a new fondness for the Belfry?


Yes, a lot of very fond Ryder Cup memories.

Q. What don't you like about it?

DARREN CLARKE: I have a lot of fond Ryder Cup memories.

Q. It sounded yesterday like you were very close to pulling out yesterday?


Q. What changed things?

DARREN CLARKE: I talked myself out of it. It would not have been the right thing to do to withdraw and go home. It would have been unprofessional. But I was very frustrated with my game yesterday to say the least.

Q. was that after the Pro-Am?

DARREN CLARKE: It did enter my mind on the 10th green as well at quarter past 8:00.

Q. Given everything you do not want to be upset on the course?

DARREN CLARKE: Not particularly, no. Easier said than done at times. If I can capitalize on my good shots which I did today and then sort of grind it out as much as I can with my poor shots, that's the area I have always struggled with in the past, that is what I managed to do a few times today and recently; if I can keep on doing that, that will give me more opportunities to contend in tournaments.

Q. When you say you talked yourself out of withdrawing did you talk to anyone?

DARREN CLARKE: No. I thought Chubby would have been too pissed off with me to start having that conversation, so I didn't.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Can you just run through your birdies for us?

DARREN CLARKE: 12, I hit 3 iron to 10 feet for birdie.

13, I hit driver, sand wedge to eight feet for birdie.

15, driver, 3 wood just off the left edge of the green, chip to six feet for birdie.

17, driver, cut off too much corner of the right hand rough. Tried to hit 3 wood, didn't come out right, had 55 yards to the flag, hit it to a foot.

18, drove a drive into the trap on the right hand side of the fairway, hit a good solid 5 iron pushed it right of the green, short sided myself and no chance to get up and down and bogey.

Second, I hit 3 wood, pulled it into the left rough, hit a good wedge 20 feet behind the hole, in

3, I hit driver, 5 wood from 240 to 12, 15 feet for eagle.

9, I hit driver, 7 iron to about six feet in for birdie.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Thanks very much, Darren.

End of FastScripts.

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