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September 24, 2008

Darren Clarke


RODDY WILLIAMS: Welcome to the Quinn Insurance British Masters. Great win a few weeks back. How do you feel coming into this week?

DARREN CLARKE: I'm all right. I'm fine. I haven't played too well here of late, so hopefully I'll play a little better this week than I have in the past. The course was in great shape yesterday and the greens were as good as they have probably ever been here, very fast and quick and certainly don't want to be above the holes. In years gone by, you could get away with a few things around here but not this time so it will be a tough challenge this week.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Two wins this season, been a pretty good year for you so far.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it's been pretty good. Working my way back up the rankings again which is what I set out to do and so far this year I'm doing that. I have to get going and get myself back -- as I've told you all before, back into the Top-50 and Top 15 in the Order of Merit and go again next year.

Q. You've been in this situation before, what does it come down to for the boys returning to play this week?
DARREN CLARKE: I can't remember if I played after Brookline or not -- I can't remember. I can't remember if I played but it certainly is very tough. I've been fortunate that I've only been on one losing side but the losing side was very disappointing.
I'm sure the guys are all gutted that they have lost. They played their hearts out obviously and I'm sure they are all very disappointed that they didn't bring the trophy back home.

Q. Even after winning, there must be an energy gap to fill, isn't it?
DARREN CLARKE: It is. It's a direct relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed and at what stage of the week you're ready to play. I believe they had a good party on Sunday night. It's tough to come back and play with the intensity of last week and try to compete next week, very tough.

Q. How much of it did you watch over the weekend?
DARREN CLARKE: Every shot, didn't miss a thing.

Q. What did you make of it?
DARREN CLARKE: Obviously very disappointed for the guys. They tried their hearts out. I haven't watched one from -- last one I watched was '95, obviously because I've been playing every one since then. The quality of the golf was sensational. It was unbelievable. People were just stiffing it to here, there and everywhere.
From what I was listening to and what I was seeing, the Americans made all the clutch putts this time that they had to; whereas, we have done that in the past. You know, the big one I think from watching it Sunday night -- I was sweating palms watching it Sunday night and Hunter Mahan holing that putt on 17 on Sunday was just huge, because Paul Casey had to wiggle out there after making a fantastic birdie on 16.
It's amazing to watch it as a previous participant and then as watching it as a player to see how much of a fine line the balance is, because it could have gone anywhere. I was about to reach for the phone about three or four times and back one team and back the other team and back the other team and I ended up not backing anybody and thankfully I didn't. The price went from 25 to 1 at one stage and wasn't that way at all looking at it on the scoreboard. 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 was not a fair reflection of the game, because the game was over, the last games were irrelevant, so you really cannot take too much from the overall result.
But you know, they tried hard, but the Americans I think on the balance of it, they played better. I think that was what was obvious from -- they responded every time and I think on Sunday, they got off to a great start. Anthony Kim played sensational golf against Sergio. But again, that was the same all week through. You take a look at it and Ian Poulter played fantastic. He just flagged everything. And G-Mac there, he was the same. But in the other games, the Americans just seemed to just make the putt at the right time or did the right thing at the right time.

Q. Which way was your money going when you saw the singles draw?
DARREN CLARKE: When I saw the singles draw, I thought they had a really good chance. But then again, you know, it all depends on what happened in the first few games. That was the huge thing.
At Brookline, Lee and I were out number one and No. 2 and then we had the rookies coming after us and then we did the same thing. We talked about it in the team room about what order and if Lee and I had won one of those games the first day, we probably would have went on to win at Brookline and we didn't and they got on a huge momentum roll.
And the same thing happened on Sunday, America seemed to get off to a good start and rolled the momentum. Momentum is huge in The Ryder Cup and that's what happened.

Q. Thoughts on the European captain picks?
DARREN CLARKE: I think if you take a look at Poults and Paul, they both played very, very well. Most obviously Poults with four points out of five, which I think says a lot about him, being under that much scrutiny from all you guys to perform the way that he did.
The end of the day, whenever I said a few things afterwards about not being selected, my points were not directed at Poulter at all. I don't have any problem with his picks. Poults and Paul were further up than me in the World Rankings. His two picks played well. I think one of the surprising things which everybody has said is about Lee and Sergio not playing on Saturday morning. I think that's an obvious thing but he obviously did what he thought was best for the team and he almost got right back into it and two points is a tough thing going into the singles.

Q. Did it make it easier for you that Poulter did play as well as far as any disappointment you might have felt?
DARREN CLARKE: Didn't make any difference. I spoke to Poults on the Tuesday after the team was announced and I was texting him through the week. But I was delighted for him. Poults is a good guy, he's a good friend and he played fantastic.

Q. Graeme, as well.
DARREN CLARKE: Exactly. Graeme holed big pressure putts when he had to. First time there, that's not an easy thing to do and he knocked them all in whenever he had to.

Q. Do you think Europe could have done with -- at the end --
DARREN CLARKE: That's for you guys to decide. I think I definitely could have contributed to the team, but they had a great team there. They had a fantastic team there. You know, the bottom line is, the Americans I think played a little bit better. That's it. You can't really say it would have been better if Monty had been there or I would have been there or whatever. That's neither here nor there now. The facts are that the American Team played just a little bit better.
I watched every shot. It was interesting watching it; I would have loved to have dearly been part of it and I did miss it desperately not being there.
But as I say, as I just said to you, I was getting sweaty palms watching the whole thing Sunday night because I t it was swaying one way or another. That's what you guys see every time you report on it. I don't see it, because when you're in the arena, you don't see as much going on with the score. I had my laptop on sitting next to me with Sporting Life, and as opposed for SKY to say, I was watching it here and there.

Q. When you look on the list and it says would will be captain --
DARREN CLARKE: I'm only 40. I'm not quite ready.

Q. Is that on the map -- when it says who is going to captain Celtic Manor --
DARREN CLARKE: I would like to think I have a few Ryder Cups left in me.

Q. So we can scratch you off?
DARREN CLARKE: Yes. I would love and be honoured to be Ryder Cup captain, but I'm not ready yet.

Q. Thomas Björn?
DARREN CLARKE: I don't know.

Q. He seems to have a few Ryder Cups left in him surely.
DARREN CLARKE: Keep going. Keep going. You can keep going but you're not going to get it out of me.

Q. What kind of character or person would you like to see take the job next time?
DARREN CLARKE: I don't know. Somebody who will get the best out of the team. You know every captain has tried to get the best out of their teams. We have been on a good roll and as disappointing as it is for The European Tour that we lost but I think it's a good thing for The Ryder Cup overall that America won it again and could make it exciting back in Wales. I would loved to have brought it back home to Europe again but in the bigger scheme of things, it's pretty good that America have it back.

Q. As a matter of policy, and this is obviously a slightly loaded question, what about repeat captains, are we beyond that now?
DARREN CLARKE: I think we have so many qualified candidates coming up in the near future for captaincy roles that I think repeat captains are going to be a difficult call.
It's almost going back again, and so I can't -- personally I can't see repeat captains again coming through. I can't -- because we have so many guys, you guys could name them as well as I could name them, and I think going -- I think we are past the stage of Tony Jacklin are Bernard Gallacher, with all do respect, those guys have done it so many times, I think we are past that now.
I think the way it's going to work out now for the foreseeable future is the captains have one go at it and that's the way that they are voted in there through respect and achievements, and they are all going to have one go at it. So I can't see us going back. I could be wrong, I'm only one voice on the committee, but I see it as different guys being asked to be captains.

Q. Woosie?
DARREN CLARKE: Woosie was a great captain towards me, he was fantastic, but I don't know. It will go to the committee and then we shall all decide. It's a tough one. It will be great for Woosie if he was captain in Wales obviously and he may or may not be interested, and he was a sensational captain. I don't know. It will go to the committee. But my view on things will be that there's so many guys who would make the captain in there be voted in.

Q. You mentioned it was down to their achievements, are you saying that if you've won a few majors that it's almost certain that you will get a captaincy, how much does that come into it?
DARREN CLARKE: I think it comes into it quite a bit, Lewine, but it's not the be-all and end-all. It's your number of Ryder Cup appearances and the way you're looked upon within the game. The Ryder Cup captain has to command respect from his players, and the one that is do that are invariably the ones that have won big tournaments that have played in Ryder Cups and that's just the way we look at it.

Q. Is there an argument for a European Team captain extra picks?
DARREN CLARKE: Good point, but I think for us to change our system now, having been so successful, I don't think we need to go panicking now because we have lost one in America. I think it's a case of we have performed very well with the system that we've had. If you play well enough, you qualify, and then there's a couple of picks to get those guys that maybe should have been on the team that haven't quite played well enough, and I think that system has served us very well.
At the end of the year, you look at that team that flew to America, that was a very, very strong team and had every chance of winning.

Q. Had America had the picks with Azinger -- it's slightly unbalanced now.
DARREN CLARKE: It is slightly unbalanced but is that a good thing or is that a bad thing.

Q. You would have gone in if you had four picks?
DARREN CLARKE: Might have, might not have done, you don't know. (Laughter).

Q. Would you be disappointed --
DARREN CLARKE: I think Padraig probably would be a little bit disappointed because he would have been trying his heart out but he's had an unbelievable year where he's won two majors and he looked a little bit tired, a little bit mentally tired. I know he would have been trying as hard as he could and he just seemed to not be Padraig firing on all cylinders. We all know how well he can play but he just didn't seem to be himself.

Q. Was there any role --
DARREN CLARKE: I wasn't there. I'm sure he would have liked to have done it. He didn't play poorly, it's just the Americans played unbelievably well. You take a look at, what was it, 56 birdies and two eagles or something the American Team made on Sunday? That's serious golf. That's serious, serious golf.
And the way that they played all during the week, as well, was exceptional. So sometimes you go to Ryder Cups and you play very well and you don't get much out of it. That's just the way it happens. It depends who you play. Depends who you're going against and who your opponents play. I'm sure he would have liked to have got more points. That's not to say that he didn't play that well but he just looked a little bit mentally tired after the year he had.

Q. Graeme made the point just now that he and Padraig were something like 10-under and lost.
DARREN CLARKE: That's exactly what I'm talking about. They play good golf and they make one or two points more so you can't really be judged by whether you win your point or you don't win your point. If you take a look at the scoring, you could say if you're going to shoot 10-under par and you still lose, that's good golf.
But that's The Ryder Cup. That's the way it is. Sometimes you can shoot 10-under and lose and sometimes you can shoot 3-under and win. That's just the way it is. It's match play.

Q. For American bragging rights, Tiger was texting people; did you get a text?
DARREN CLARKE: No, I didn't get a text. I'm bigger than he is and he's on one leg; he didn't get a text.
RODDY WILLIAMS: There's an awful lot of talk about Ryder Cup; can you turn your attention a little bit more just to this week? (Laughter).
DARREN CLARKE: I knew you wanted me in here for a reason.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Just to speculate about this week which is a little bit closer to Ryder Cup 2010.
DARREN CLARKE: Speculated at the start and said how got course was and obviously you want people coming to see Lee and G-Mac after being on television last week, and we have a strong week this week and it's a tough golf course and if the wind blows it will be even tougher.
Lee's been playing great but again, whether he's feeling mentally strong enough after last week, again, maybe mentally he might be, and even physically with all of the effort that he put into last week, it's tough to get yourself up again. But they are both -- Lee and G-Mac are great players amongst other players so they could well do.

Q. Obviously a race for you now to get into the Top-50, what's your schedule going to be like now?
DARREN CLARKE: I'm playing this week, next week, week off, Portugal, week off, Valderrama, HSBC, Barclays Singapore Open, couple of weeks off, I think I'm playing Leopard Creek and then South African Open week after that. So I've actually got quite a bit of golf left to play.

Q. You obviously want to get in straightaway.
DARREN CLARKE: Exactly. I want to know what I'm doing and make sure that I'm back in the majors again next year, so I'm doing everything I can to make sure that happens.

End of FastScripts

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