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July 29, 2010

Darren Clarke


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Darren, thank you for joining us.
DARREN CLARKE: Not at all.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: It's a beautiful day. You look like you enjoyed that. Tell us about your round.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, obviously I played nicely, 5-under par. I hit 18 greens in regulation. I didn't miss a green today, so that was pretty good.
I had lots of chances and took a few of them obviously. But finished off with making a really nice par on the last there which is good. Holed it from about six feet, seven feet for par, second putt from front of the green after having driven it in the bunker.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: And not a bad crowd out here on a Thursday.
DARREN CLARKE: No, it was brilliant. How many Irish Opens -- when is the last one, Fota Island whenever we had weather like this, was it? In Killarney, one of the most beautiful places in Ireland, and the weather as good as this and the crowds as good as this, and playing with Rory and Rhys, doesn't really get much better.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Go through the birdies and we'll take some questions.
DARREN CLARKE: 3, I hit a 5-iron to a foot from 198.
7, I hit -- slightly missed my tee the should, hi a rescue club, missed the green left on the downslope and a fantastic pitch to four feet and holed it for birdie.
9, I hit driver, 8-iron to about 20 feet, holed it for birdie.
11, I hit driver, 6-iron to about 25 feet and holed it.
16, hit driver, 4-iron, past the flag on the right edge of the green and 2-putted from about 40 feet.

Q. You said that getting the US PGA would take the pressure off this week, were you really able to go out there and play freely?
DARREN CLARKE: Well, I'm obviously trying to play very, very well and get further uplifts and what have you. Yeah, it was very nice, it was a great -- actually it was a great bonus to get the information that they had given me the invite. I'm delighted and privileged that they have given me one. I feel very fortunate that they have given me an invite, but it was certainly great to get it before the tournament started.

Q. A lot of red figures today on day one with three days to go, guys are going to get more and more familiar with the golf course; how low do you think the guys are going doing?
DARREN CLARKE: If you take a look today, Richard Green, 6-under par, I'm at 5-under par. This morning it would have been impossible to get Killarney playing any easier than it was this morning. You have your leading score at 6-under par and the next 5-under par.
The greens are very good, but they are so undulating that they are very, very tough to read them correctly. I think you'll see that all week with people scratching their heads a few times and the most movement.
I would say I was wrong, as well, in my initial assessment that the scores were going to be very low. I was off the mark. Yes, the guys will become more familiar with the golf course but you know there's so many places that they can put the pins that we just can't get at, I don't think the scoring is going to be as low as what everybody is thinks it's going to be.

Q. Is it fair to say it's a venue worthy of the Irish Open?
DARREN CLARKE: Most definitely. Most definitely. The Irish Open has always been perceived from the guys on Tour as one of the greatest crowds and great fun and a tournament we all want to play in and enjoy. If you take a look out there this morning, those pictures being beamed around the world, it doesn't really get any better than that, does it. That's as good as it gets.
You know, it's one that we are all very proud of to be playing at this week. I think Killarney, thus far, it has been fantastic for us to be here.

Q. What's your attitude to putting, over your entire career, is it a bit of a dark art or how do you view it?
DARREN CLARKE: Miss, miss, miss, miss, miss.

Q. You've hit so many greens in regulation your whole life, can you sometimes -- when you have 25 feet all the time for birdie, so do you think you're a bad putter --
DARREN CLARKE: Sometimes you've got to take your chances when you hit it close around here, and I did that most the time today. Because the greens are so undulating, you've got double breaks, three breaks going on all over the place, so you have to make the most of it. But putting around here is tough. I just said to Charlie, you're going to see so many guys missing putts because they are so difficult; to actually read to get them right. But, you know, putting is something that I think you've got to be very patient with; as you're all aware, that's not really one of my strong points, but hopefully much better.

Q. Is that the key this week, you have a chance to be creative, but it's the person who doesn't get frustrated on these greens that may come through?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, because if you look at the golf course, you think you should have birdie chances here, there, everywhere, which you will have a lot of birdie chances but if things aren't quite going, if you start chasing birdies out here, you're going to start making mistakes. And that's what happened with Rory today, he made a couple of little mistakes and the course got on by. And saying that, he finished off brilliantly to get himself back up there again. That's just the way the golf course is.

Q. When did you last play with Rory, and do you take extra pleasure from beating him?
DARREN CLARKE: We played together on Tuesday.

Q. In a tournament.
DARREN CLARKE: You didn't say in a tournament, Mr. Garrod, did you. I don't know when is the last time we played together in a tournament. But we do play quite a bit, and you know, I'm usually very good Tuesday and Wednesday golfer, and he's usually better Thursday to Sunday. So I play him for a few quid on Tuesdays and things. He's got enough money, he can afford to give the old man a few quid but last time we played together I'm not quite sure.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Darren, thanks for joining us.

End of FastScripts

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