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July 8, 2010

Darren Clarke


MICHAEL GIBBONS: You're still smiling, one of the only men styling, tell us about your 65. An excellent first round.
DARREN CLARKE: Thank you. Well, obviously I played nicely all day. Gave myself lots of chances, and it was, as you can see from the scoring, be it was pretty tough out there. The wind was swirling about. We got pretty wet the last couple of holes there but all in all, very pleased with that.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: And obviously JP McManus's Pro-Am has given you a lot of confidence.
DARREN CLARKE: Definitely. As I told some of the guys, that still want to speak with me for whatever reason now and again, that I was working hard and doing all of the right things. Then I changed my setup with Brendan, my caddie, on Thursday night in Paris and started rolling the ball a lot better again, and did that again at Adare Manor and managed to win there.
Obviously I'm a bit of a confidence player and whenever I start seeing the ball going into the hole, the whole game seems a lot easier for me. So I'm not particularly playing any different than I have been but I'm just holing a couple of putts.

Q. Not a bad performance from Ulster's fourth-ranked player, is it.
DARREN CLARKE: There you go. I tell you, I'm lucky I'm not the fifth. But no, it was good to go out and play well again. All joking aside, it's been a while since I've been in here, so it's quite nice.

Q. You've been a mentor for Graeme and Rory; is the boot on the other foot a little bit with their success and determination?
DARREN CLARKE: I've been delighted to see their success. It's fantastic for European golf, and, indeed, Ulster golf, Irish golf, to see the two of them playing as well as they have been.
I've been there maybe a little bit for both of them in the past and they are returning the compliment to me at the moment to keep going and working away at it, and so it's nice to get a bit back from them again. But you wouldn't expect anything less from the two of them, because you know that's the guys that they are.

Q. St. Andrews an inspiration this week still?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, listen, I've been on the Tour for a long time now, so it's the first round of the golf tournament and there's an awful long way to go yet.
Yes, of course, I'd love to qualify for next week, but it's The Barclays Scottish Open, and obviously I have an affiliation with Barclays and so this is a tournament I would like to do well.
I've come close a few times in the past here, but my focus is trying to play this week as well as I can and if that gets me into The Open, then that's fantastic.

Q. Did you ever fear or have any doubts at all that this wouldn't happen again?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, a few of the guys that know me a little bit better than yourself, they could see that I was getting slightly pissed off to say the least. But no, not at all, I was always hitting the ball okay. That's what I kept saying. My stats were able to back that up. But I wasn't turning in the scores. So as I say, it's nice to roll a couple of putts in.

Q. You were actually talking about giving it up for a while, weren't you?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, the red stool in the Harbour Bar in Portrush in the bottom corner was looking very good for a long time. But no, I was just frustrated, as I told you. And sometimes the game -- I make the game as difficult as I possibly can for myself. So you know, that's just born out of frustration.

Q. Apart from the skills, you seem happier than you have been sort of off the course for a while?
DARREN CLARKE: Everything off the golf course is going very well for me. I've made a decision to move back home to Portrush again and I'm doing that this summer, getting back home to my family and friends.
You know, I'm just moving on with my life in the direction which I can't wait to get going. You know, obviously a huge part of my life is playing golf and always has been, and whenever I don't, that does lead to a lot of frustration, a lot of annoyance. I'm just trying to put my head down and work as hard as I could.

Q. And off the course things are well?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I have a wonderful girlfriend and everything is going very well. Yeah, everything off the course, I can't really ask for more.

Q. What does motivate you to keep working hard and spending hours on the driving range to keep going?
DARREN CLARKE: I want to win. I want to win tournaments. That's why I started playing golf and that's why I play golf. I want to win tournaments and that's why I do it.

Q. Has not diminished over the years?
DARREN CLARKE: No, not at all. Not in the slightest.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Darren, many thanks. Good luck tomorrow.
DARREN CLARKE: Thank you. Nice to see you all again.

End of FastScripts

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