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August 27, 2008

Darren Clarke


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Darren, thanks for joining us, and I'm sure we'll join you in congratulating you again for last week.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Just start off, hoping to continue the form this week?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, if we can, pick up where we left off last week, the same sort of golf that I played last week.
I think it goes without saying that this may not be my favourite golf course, but I will definitely do my best.

Q. You seem to have the air of a man who let's his clubs do the talking rather than actually say very much about The Ryder Cup. Is that still the case, or is it very much on your mind?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, there's not much for me to say about it. No point in me speaking about it. I said last week and that I need to play well for two weeks. I played well last week, and I need to do the same again this week. If that warrants me or merits me a pick, then fantastic.

Q. Have you had any communication with Nick recently?

Q. Tempted to?
DARREN CLARKE: Absolutely not. At the end of the day, he has a difficult choice coming up on Sunday, and I'm sure whoever he does pick will be two good additions to the team.

Q. Your take on Ian Poulter pulling out when he still could have qualified?
DARREN CLARKE: I would like to think we would be playing this week if we're trying to qualify, but he has a commitment over there, as well, and he is desperate to make the team. So whatever his reasoning, he's decided to stay over there. But he has stated his desire to make the team and to play in Valhalla, so he obviously thinks it's better for him to be over there.

Q. What is it you dislike about this course?
DARREN CLARKE: The fact that I made so many bogeys on it last year didn't help! We did have terrible weather last year.
I don't know, it doesn't really fit my eye this week. You go to some courses like I did last week, and I liked it straightaway. It's the same for every player, not just me. Some people like some courses and some people don't really get on with others, and this one didn't really suit my eye.

Q. I know that Lee said that he didn't like St. Andrews and he won --
DARREN CLARKE: I could easily reverse the decision on Sunday evening if I play well.

Q. Is there some way, something that you can do to try and shut it out?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, there's obviously little things for me that I have to do this week. Not only is there The Ryder Cup, but as I said on Sunday, I have other goals I want to do this year, i.e., back in the Top-50 back in the top Order of Merit for next year, in just about three weeks four weeks time in Valhalla, and I have other goals for this year as well.
I've achieved a couple of them, namely two wins, and I'm almost back in the Top-50 again. My form and my golf is almost back to where I want it. So I'm looking for a very good finish at the end of the year.

Q. How much more special was it to have the boys with you last week?
DARREN CLARKE: It was brilliant to have the boys there last week. Some of the pictures that were taken and stuff, it was just great looking at them. I'm going to put one of them up in the boys' playroom at home when I get it. It was great. They have been at tournaments, but they have not been at tournaments where I have won before. So to have them there was brilliant, and they enjoyed it every bit as much as I did I think.

Q. In terms of playing well in the past, where do you rank how you're playing now to when you were at your very best?
DARREN CLARKE: Pretty close to that I think. Pretty close to that. I won last week but I won -- at the end, I won pretty comfortably last week. I was in control of what I was trying to do with the golf ball.
And my course management was very, very good last week, and you can only have good course management if you're hitting the ball pretty well, so the two go hand-in-hand. It's easy to say you're going to plot your a way around the golf course, but if you're not playing that well, you can't hit it to the places you're trying to hit it to.
Last week and a few times recently, I've been able to hit it to the right side of the flag to do what I'm trying to do. So I feel pretty good with where my game is at right now.

Q. You said I think that you felt certain periods this year you were trying too hard. Can you elaborate a bit on that?
DARREN CLARKE: No, after my win in China early in the year, I practised -- I put more hours of practise in, eight, nine, ten hours a day, and that's too much. Almost went overboard trying to move on from there. And so that obviously wasn't working with the way I performed in July.
So I had to take stock and look at things and just relax a little bit, broke the hours down a little bit, and am much more relaxed and calm on the golf course than I have been for a long time; as those of you that were there last week and saw me last week, that's the way I was.

Q. How many hours?
DARREN CLARKE: I don't know how many I'm doing now, I'm just more relaxed. I'm still working pretty hard, though.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thank you very much. Good luck this week.

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