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July 11, 2007

Darren Clarke


GORDON SIMPSON: Welcome back to Loch Lomond for the Barclays Scottish Open. Last year going into the last round you were leading, so maybe this time, you will finally pull it off.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, well the course I've played pretty well here in the past quite a few times, and last year I didn't get it done on Sunday which happened quite a lot last year. You know, was very encouraged by a couple of weeks in America. Played a lot better especially the second week at Flint and hopefully can build on that and start getting my game back to where it should be.
GORDON SIMPSON: Was that a huge relief just to make that cut?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I'm not used to doing that. (laughing) Every one that I was missing was not very enjoyable.
Certainly it has not been through a lack of work because I've been practising really hard, but it was good to play well again. I enjoyed it.
GORDON SIMPSON: You've seen people come through troughs before and emerge at the other end; so maybe this could be you, as well.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I hope so. I've figured something out whenever I was in America and I've been putting the wrong shafts in my irons for three years. And I come back home and change them, and straightaway my iron play turned around. So hopefully that's going to stand me in good stead this week and next week, and indeed going forward.
GORDON SIMPSON: How did you discover that?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, my driver was going up in the middle of the fairway and my irons were going right and left and too high. So you would I think would be smart enough to figure it out myself after about three years, but I wasn't quite clever enough.
So I took them down to Malcolm Clark in Bentley and had them checked and they were S's as opposed to X's. Because of everything else I have haven't paid attention, just looking the swing, as opposed to making a mistake with the shafts I had requested.

Q. How long did it take you to realise?
DARREN CLARKE: Two shots. I had two shots with the new ones when they had been reshafted and the difference was massive.

Q. So two shots multiplied by four rounds a lot of golf shots, isn't it.

Q. (How much of a difference have you noticed)?
DARREN CLARKE: A lot. I practised really hard at home as I usually do, and you know, my golf being -- as professionals, we can't control our ball flight, we can't control our distances; so it's a Catch 22. All of a sudden, I noticed a huge difference. It might take me a little bit of time to get used to the timing because I've been using the wrong ones for so long, but certainly been practising has been great.

Q. How did the mistake happen in the first place?
DARREN CLARKE: Because it was my fault. Because I had not checked them. I had not done anything, and they were just the wrong ones.

Q. Originally when they went in --
DARREN CLARKE: Just a miscommunication. Rightfully in America and rightfully in Europe, they have a different measuring system and mine were done in America, which subsequently turned out to be not the ones that I usually use.

Q. With the confidence and new start and the Open being two weeks ahead -- better state of mind?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it's been a difficult period as I've told you all before. My game has been struggling, my boys have been struggling, but things have been turning around a little bit now. Seems like I'm getting a bit of semblance in my life again and things are starting to finally get back around to being normal again and consequently, I feel a lot happier about what I'm doing.
It was good to play those four rounds and I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I'm feeling a lot better about my game.

Q. Looking forward to the Open?
DARREN CLARKE: I can't wait to play these two weeks. I can't wait to play golf again. I'm almost like a rookie again, I'm so keen to play.
Certainly quite for some time with my other issues, that has not really been on the forefront of my mind but now I'm mad keen to get playing, really keen.

Q. Keen enough to back yourself?
DARREN CLARKE: Not yet. I don't back myself, Mark. Not yet.
I'm starting okay. I'm very happy with what I'm doing.

Q. If you had not contracted with Barclays, would you be playing the Irish PGA this week?
DARREN CLARKE: Barclays is a long-standing sponsor of mine --

Q. If you had not been contracted --
DARREN CLARKE: Barclays has been a long-standing sponsor of mine. They have been very good to me and very kind to me.

Q. But the Irish PGA this week --
DARREN CLARKE: Barclays has been very kind to me.
GORDON SIMPSON: That's three mentions of Barclays.
DARREN CLARKE: Yes, I know, Barclays, Barclays, Barclays!

Q. Do you feel like a young golfer again --
DARREN CLARKE: Yes, it is and it's good to get back. As I said, my life, my boys life is starting to get back to a little bit of normality again which is great. I made a few other personal decisions; I'm staying in the location where I am and things are just sorting themselves out. My boys are doing good, and if they are doing well, then that allows me to get back out and do what I want to do.

Q. Frustrating not to have been playing well?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, most definitely. Most definitely. Half the time I was missing the cuts, I wasn't actually playing that poorly. I didn't play that badly. But I can't able to put a score together. And, you know, in America, I played really well. In hindsight, it was a great decision of Chubbs to put me over there for a couple of weeks -- not put me over there, but take up the opportunity to go play over there a couple of weeks. It's pretty hard to come in and see you guys after I'm missing the cut week after week after week, and you're asking me what's going on and one thing or another sometimes playing poorly, sometimes being injured, it was a difficult situation every Friday.
Over there, worked as hard as I could and it's nice to see had some of the things starting to pay off.

Q. Fancy your chances for Carnoustie?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, my game's been pretty good here in the past so I'd like to think this course has been pretty good to me. I drove up and played a practise round at Carnoustie on Sunday and it's in magnificent shape. It's nothing like the course we played the last time The Open was there. We've got a chance at finding our ball this time if it goes in the rough. If there is a bit of wind, it's going to play tough, but it's going to play fair.
You know, Carnoustie is one of the best courses in the country and doesn't need to be tricked up in any way at all. That's what sort of Open we're going to have this time.

Q. Was there one horrible moment in '99?
DARREN CLARKE: Probably the first tee in the first practise round on Tuesday morning to see what we had in front of us. It was one of those -- it was U.S. Open rough on a links golf course, which is not the case this time.

Q. With the drought of a European winner, your name has not been mentioned as a possible winner; should we now? -
DARREN CLARKE: My lack of form over a period of time, whether my game will be good enough to contend next week, I don't know. But I'm certainly looking forward to it. If I'd been playing much better all this year, you probably would have put my name up there, but for other reasons I haven't been playing that well.
But now I'm very happy with my game and it's nice to go in sort of under the radar, as it were, and just try and just play, which is what I want to do every week. I want to go and play.
GORDON SIMPSON: Darren, thanks again and have a good week. Thank you very much.

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