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May 15, 2008

Darren Clarke


Q. Scoring was difficult?
DARREN CLARKE: The course was ridiculously difficult this afternoon. Some of the pin positions we had -- it was disappointing whenever you see somebody, a Robert Trent Jones Senior golf course design, which is a fantastic design, and then you have new tees, and all of a sudden we are hitting 3-irons to flags that are completely inaccessible.
It's disappointing for such a good golf course to have to play in that sort of fashion. It takes all the fun away, and it takes the ability to shoot a good score away. Difficult for all of the players and people coming in to watch it.

Q. Not a lot of roars; a bit like the Masters; are they making it too tough?
DARREN CLARKE: That's exactly what's happened. You know, people come in and they want to see us not doing what they do, with all due respect, hitting it out of the rough and stuff, we do that as well. They come to watch us make birdies and unfortunately with the golf course as difficult as it was, that's just not happening, which I think has affected the scores this afternoon.

Q. And your own game?
DARREN CLARKE: I was a bit sort of lackadaisical today, making silly mistakes at the end and putter wasn't behaving too well. One of those sort of so-so days. But 72 is not bad, so hopefully get out early in the morning, breeze is a little bit softer and maybe take advantage of that.

Q. You've changed your position on the U.S. Open?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, I want to play in Europe. I want to try and get back up the World Rankings in Europe. It was a case of going to qualify for the U.S. Open or, add Wales to my schedule, which is a future Ryder Cup course, and it's close to home.
To go and play in the U.S. Open, if I'm not going to have the proper preparation for it, and you know how difficult the U.S. Open is going to be, and you know to go over there and get on to the West Coast, 12-hour flight, eight-hour time change, get there on Monday night; you know, I wasn't going to be able to be playing my best golf.
So decided to put Wales in and forget about the U.S. Open this time.

Q. Thoughts on your round?
DARREN CLARKE: I played okay, okay at best. The course was very tough.

Q. How tough was it?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, the greens got rock hard. You know, these greens are designed to be hit by much shorter clubs than we were having to hit. You can't expect to hit it close to the hole, nor hold certain pin positions if the greens are as firm as they are.

Q. Can I ask what happened on 17?
DARREN CLARKE: I hit a poor tee shot, played just off the left and had a so-so lie and had to dig at it with a 5-wood, and moved it a few yards. Done it before and I'll probably do it again but it was a very good five.

Q. And 16 wasn't without incident, either, was it.
DARREN CLARKE: Well, Oli hit 8-iron over the back of the green, straight over the back of the green and pulled it up next to the wind right-to-left and I got up, hit 8-iron and thought it was perfect and I ended up short of the green so the wind was moving it about a little bit. Hit a pitch, advanced on me a little too far and managed to get one to go in the hole.
I knew it was close but I didn't know if it was going in or not. Other than that it would be a tap-in.

Q. And 18?
DARREN CLARKE: Two good shots at the last. Misjudged it again, and I didn't putt particularly well all day today, but nice to hole out a 3-footer for birdie.

Q. The sun had been baking the greens --
DARREN CLARKE: The course it's a fantastic challenge, and to see them they got them as firm as they did with the clubs we were hitting into the pin positions.

Q. Harrington wasn't upset with his 72; how would you assess yours?
DARREN CLARKE: I'm very pleased. I could have let it get away from me, and I didn't.

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