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May 12, 2006

Darren Clarke


RODDY WILLIAMS: Darren, thanks very much for coming in. Well, I guess that your FA Cup Final dream over the weekend is all over.

DARREN CLARKE: All gone. Rick Parry had got me two tickets in the Royal Box, and unfortunately I won't be able to use them. Very disappointed. Wish I had shot 80 really.

Q. Why can't you use them - we finish at 2.30?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, 25 minutes in the chopper and closest we can land to the ground is 15 minutes away, and just not going to work. I definitely did not think I would be close to the lead after two rounds.

Q. And then there is a press conference?

DARREN CLARKE: Listen, if we are tight and it is getting close to kick off, I will pass my apologies on to you all. I will say I'm very sorry.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Obviously more difficult day today, talk us through your round today.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I played okay again today. Probably similar to yesterday. But I played okay but the greens were tough to hole putts on. They were a little bit bumpy, and it is tough to bang putts in which is the way I like to do it. You have to be be a little more tentative as you didn't want the bumpy four footer coming back again. It's nobody's fault just early in the year here and just the way the greens are.

RODDY WILLIAMS: You're three shots back heading into the weekend, what's your thoughts on that?

DARREN CLARKE: It's an awful lot closer to the lead than I thought it was going to be. Thought I wouldn't be here for a start. There's a sign that I've hit quite a few shots, and if I can do that and roll a few putts in again tomorrow, hopefully I'll close the gap. And if I can give myself a chance to win on Sunday, that would be way beyond all my expectations coming into the week, so we shall see.

Q. How good an achievement was it for Casey not having a bogey?

DARREN CLARKE: He must be putting well. It's tough it keep on putting that well on these greens, but we shall see.

Q. Would Paul and Thomas not mind waiting for you?

DARREN CLARKE: What score are they on? Is it? Just I can't make it because we're going to get there, whatever, 30 minutes into the game, at best, so it's just not going to work.

Q. But with a two tee start?

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, but the finish is at 2:30. So the earliest it could be in whatever mode of transport would be 2:40; 25 minutes is five past 3:00, and 15 minutes to the ground is 20 past 3:00. By the time we get up there it will be 3:30, 3:35. I'm just going to have a couple extra cold Guinnesses and watch it here on the big screen, unfortunately.

Q. Who has the tickets?

DARREN CLARKE: No, I'm not allowed to reveal. Somebody else must be luckier than me.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Have you ever been to an FA Cup Final?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't think I have. Champions league semi-final last year at Anfield and scored against Chelsea in the last minute they didn't score in the last minute, but I was there for that game but I haven't been. But I haven't been to a final no. I couldn't go to Istanbul last year because Wentworth was the following day, and I wouldn't have got back until 3 o'clock in the morning which wouldn't have quite worked for Wentworth

RODDY WILLIAMS: Let's run through your birdies.

DARREN CLARKE: Second hole, 5 wood, pitching wedge, 12 feet, in for birdie.

4th hole, driver, left rough, 7 iron on to the green about 20 feet, in for birdie.

7, missed the green right, hit a bunker in the right hand bunker, 20 feet, two putts.

14, hit 5 iron, poor 5 iron, pulled it just left of the green into the long grass, missed it. Four real good chances for birdies in a row and made none of those so my head teetered a little I must admit.

15, I hit driver, pulled it into the rough, laid up with a 6 iron, hit wedge, really good shot just on the top tier, but nice to hole it from the top tier coming down from 20 feet.

16, I hit driver, pushed it into the right hand rough, hit a wedge to nine inches in for a birdie.

17, just off the right edge of the green in two, didn't get it up and down.

Q. With a u-draw Thomas will finish about the same time ?

DARREN CLARKE: You're going to try to talk me into go I want to go, but I can't do it. I've already got these things sorted out. So I am stuffed. I don't need you to rub it in anymore; I can't go. (Laughter) I'm a little bit pissed off I can't go, so thank you very much. I can't go.

Q. What would it mean to win again on Sunday?

DARREN CLARKE: Yes, it would be nice to win again. But that's two rounds away. I'm getting there. If I can keep on improving over the weekend and give myself a chance next week in Ireland, I would dearly love to win there, then Wentworth the week after that, and all things being well at home where I can continue to play a little bit that, would be great.

Q. What have you done best the last couple of days?

DARREN CLARKE: Probably not lose my temper on this course. I've been a bit volatile in the past around here. The course is good. It just doesn't it doesn't fit my eye. We go to courses players, we go to courses that we like and courses that we don't like. And we like them because, A, we've either played well in the past there before; or B, we can see shots on them.

Here in the past, I've always struggled to see shots. Whereas this week, I've managed to execute a few and hit them in the right place which I haven't been able to do, and that's why I'm 8 under par and not 8 over par.

Q. You have a good Ryder Cup record here.

DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, Ryder Cups I've played okay, but you can take things on and bang and have a go at a putt and stuff like that; whereas stroke play you have to be a little bit more careful.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Darren, thanks very much.

End of FastScripts.

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