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July 16, 2011

Darren Clarke


LYNN WALLACE: Ladies and gentlemen, we're joined by Darren Clarke, who scored a 1-under 69 today, 5-under for the championship and to lead by one. You're in good position going into tomorrow. Can you give us your thoughts on your performance today.
DARREN CLARKE: Obviously if somebody had given me 69 before I was going out to play, I would have bitten their hand off for it. Saying that, we did get very fortunate with the draw. Sometimes to win any tournament the draw can make a big difference, but in the Open Championship it makes a huge difference. We got very lucky. We started off in terrible conditions and then it sort of cleared up after four or five holes, so we got lucky with the weather again.
But all in all, I couldn't have hit the ball any better from tee to green. That was about as good as I could do from tee to green. On the green was not quite the same, to say the least, but from tee to green I was very pleased with the way I played.

Q. 20 years of trying to win The Open now, Darren.
DARREN CLARKE: Yes, thank you. (Laughter.)

Q. You're in an amazingly enticing position going into the final day, what do you feel about that?
DARREN CLARKE: Obviously I'm very excited about that. The Open is the biggest and best tournament in the world. You know, as you've said, I've failed 20 times -- well, 19 times I've failed to try and lift the Claret Jug, and tomorrow I have an opportunity. But at the moment it's just an opportunity because the weather is going to be very windy again tomorrow, and there's a long way to go still in this championship. But I'm very pleased to be leading going into the last round.

Q. You might have thought it would be the other way around, but has McIlroy winning the U.S. Open in any way inspired you coming into this tournament?
DARREN CLARKE: Not really inspired me, no. As I said yesterday for people that were here, I'm delighted for him that he was able to do it. But you know, he's half my age. I've known him since he's been a kid, and to see what he achieved and the way he did it and how he's getting better and better as a professional, I delight in that.
But in terms of inspiring me, no, because this is sort of a different era. I know we're still competing against each other, but it's a different era. Pleased for him, but inspired me, not really, no.

Q. In your heart of hearts, did you ever believe you'd be there again --

Q. And especially hearing those cheers on the last --

Q. Have you ever heard anything like that before?
DARREN CLARKE: I've had a few different ones. I've had a few hair-raising cheers over my career. Did I ever doubt I would get myself back in this position? No. Did I know it was going to happen? No. Did I hope it was going to happen? Yes. But did I ever doubt? No.

Q. What are you more pleased with this week, your ball-striking or the way you're thinking your way around the golf course?
DARREN CLARKE: I was once given a quote from a guy called Ken Brown, who's part of the BBC commentary team this week, and Brownie has been a friend of mine for a very long time, and he said to me before my first Ryder Cup in Valderrama in 1997, "Don't let your golf game determine your attitude, let your attitude determine your golf game." If my attitude is good, then the ball-striking is going to be good. If my attitude is not so good, then nothing is going to be any good. My attitude has been very good this week, and it's shown in the way I'm hitting the ball.

Q. Your sons, were they there today?
DARREN CLARKE: No, they're still at home. They're at home in Portrush. Their round at Royal Portrush was much more important than coming and watching dad over here.

Q. Will they be here for tomorrow?
DARREN CLARKE: No, they'll probably be watching at home. I don't think they wanted to come over. They'd prefer to sit in front of the TV and watch it.

Q. You talked about keeping your attitude right, but how do you manage not to get frustrated? I counted about five where it just lipped the edge of the hole.
DARREN CLARKE: Yes, but that's the game. I can only try my best and do my best, and that's what I was doing. Some of the putts that didn't go in, I hit really good putts. I hit a couple of really poor putts, as well, but overall I hit a lot of really good putts, and all you can do is read them as best you can, and there was a few misreads in there, and I did the best I could in each one. But I haven't always been able to stay patient whenever that's the case, but I have been able to do it this week. Spending time with Dr. Bob and what have you, has sort of helped me get back into that mind frame.

Q. What's the plans for tonight? And how are you going to while away the time?
DARREN CLARKE: I can while away the time very easily. That doesn't bother me in the slightest.
Tonight I'll probably go to Chubby's -- he's got more food. Chubby has got fantastic chefs in there, and I'll probably stuff my face and go to bed at about 10:00 and try not to drink too much.
Tomorrow morning I'll probably get up and stuff my face again. I'll just relax and watch a little bit of the golf or whatever, but I'll be fine.

Q. There was great support out there for you today. What role will the fans play tomorrow?
DARREN CLARKE: The support they've given me this week all week has been incredible. It's been wonderful that they show much support and they were brilliant today. Even when I did keep giving myself opportunities and missing them, they were still roaring at me, "Come on, Darren. Come on, Darren," which is just wonderful. There's very few other tournaments where I would get that support, and it's been wonderful to receive it from all the fans today. It's been absolutely brilliant. Love it. It's fantastic.
LYNN WALLACE: Okay, Darren, thanks very much.

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