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July 29, 2011
Q. Clearly not the round you were hoping for, what's your thoughts on your play today?
DARREN CLARKE: Average to say the least. Playing average and can't hole a putt, it was always going to be an average sort of day.
Q. Fatigue a factor?
DARREN CLARKE: Not physical fatigue. It's more mental fatigue, trying and trying and trying all the way around the back nine there, and couldn't get anything going at all.
I had a couple of chances and coming up the last there. I saw the cut was going to be 1-under on the board, tried a little bit too aggressive and chipped to hole it, and leave the next one hanging on the lip, just stupid. But all in all, obviously disappointed with my score but there's always next week.
Q. On the bright side, Firestone next week, you've won a World Golf Championship there before, excited about the prospects there?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it will be good to go back there again. I have not been there for a couple of years, so it will be nice to get back there.
Q. Darren, walking up 18, consolation for a frustrating round?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I played average and putted very average. I had a tough day there. I just couldn't get anything going at all and weekend off is not what I wanted.
Q. Are you feeling a bit tired?
DARREN CLARKE: Not physically tired. A little bit mentally tired. But a couple of days off probably wouldn't do me any harm, albeit I would much prefer to be here to play.
Q. The lads were saying the course is playing tougher today. How did you find it?
DARREN CLARKE: A couple of tougher pins today, not that easy to get close to them. Probably a couple of shots tougher than yesterday.
Played a bit average, putted average, and just everything was average today. A little bit mentally tired. I was fighting and fighting all the way around the back nine. Just one of those days. That's golf. That's the way it is.
Q. Does it bring everything down to earth after all of the highs; is that when it comes back down?
DARREN CLARKE: Not really. A couple of things went my way over at Sandwich and things went -- bounces went the other way. Payback time I suppose. That's the game.
Q. Physically are you not feeling the best? Do you think that's affected you?
DARREN CLARKE: No, that's no excuse. I'm not feeling good but there's no excuse for shooting 74 today.
Q. What about an eye on this afternoon, how do you get over a round like that?
DARREN CLARKE: It's not going to bother me too much. I'm disappointed but it won't bother me too much.
Q. What about looking ahead to next week?
DARREN CLARKE: It will be nice to get back to Firestone in Akron, and the next couple of weeks will be good.
Q. You started great, you were tied sixth at 8.30 this morning.
DARREN CLARKE: I missed two 4-footers in a row and lost my feel on the greens completely. 3-putted the first one that I made bogey on and missed a 4-footer on the next. Just could not get going at all all day.
Q. And you were right in there come the 10th, and then 11 a beautiful pitch into 11 both times you didn't hole the putts.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I know. That was one of those days -- I had that all day. I had good shots and missed every putt that I looked at. But that's golf. That's the way it is.
Q. Lovely reception on 18. You doffed your cap to the crowd and they gave you a good reception.
DARREN CLARKE: It's a fantastic reception from the crowd this week, but I was coming down hoping to play better than this.
Q. Two big weeks, and you have a lot of impetus going into the next two weeks.
DARREN CLARKE: I didn't have much time off after The Open, but you know, in saying that, that's no excuse for shooting 74 today. It will be okay. Possibly have a couple of days' rest and get ready for the next couple of weeks.
Q. Do you get to a certain point during the round where you feel today isn't going to be your day; and if so, was there any point out there today --
DARREN CLARKE: There's always a point out there. There's always a point competing and trying to do as well as I can. And that's what I did all the way around the back nine, and nothing happened.
Q. Such a big couple of weeks ahead of you, aside from playing front of home crowds in the Irish Open, would you ideally like to be playing the next couple of days just to get some more practise in, not having played last week?
DARREN CLARKE: Of course I would. That's a particularly stupid question as they are; of course I want to play on the weekend.
Q. In terms of just sharpening your game --
DARREN CLARKE: It doesn't make any difference --
Q. Very good preparation for the States.
DARREN CLARKE: Doesn't make any difference. Whatever tournament it is, I want to play on the weekend. And the fact that it's the Irish Open, I most definitely want to play on the weekend.
Q. In what way is the course playing different today from yesterday?
DARREN CLARKE: The pin positions are a bit more difficult today. They were tucked away and much tougher to get at.
Q. The crowds at 18, something you hope to see and be back next year when you are back playing the Irish Open?
DARREN CLARKE: The crowds were fantastic. Just a shame I didn't give them nothing more to shout about, Shane nor myself could get them more to roar about.
Q. With Tiger coming back next week, you're going over to the States for the first time as The Open Champion --
DARREN CLARKE: He'll have all that, as he always has all that. It's great he's coming back to play with him.
Q. Would you like to play with him?
DARREN CLARKE: I'm delighted to be there. I'll play wherever they put me, but it's great he's coming back to play again.
Q. Very touching for you, the communications on Saturday and Sunday at The Open that he took the time out to send you so many messages.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, he did. He's been a very good friend for a long time.
Q. He did offer you some helpful advice, I understand.
DARREN CLARKE: He did.
Q. This was overnight, was it, going into the final round?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, it was a bit on Saturday night and more on Sunday night.
Q. Did you heed any of that advice?
DARREN CLARKE: Yes, I did.
Q. How big of a factor was it?
DARREN CLARKE: No, I'm not -- (laughter) no, I'm not. I'm not going to tell you. That's between friends.
Q. But it was helpful?
DARREN CLARKE: Yes, it was helpful.
Q. Will you text him now that you know he's going to be playing next week? Will you text him, great to see you back?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, yeah.
Q. You haven't had a text since Sunday?
DARREN CLARKE: No.
Q. How much of a painkiller is having that Claret Jug today for missing the cut? Would it make those putts any easier to take?
DARREN CLARKE: What?
Q. Having the Claret Jug. Does it make it any easier?
DARREN CLARKE: I won The Open two weeks ago. I'm not particularly -- I'm not as upset as you've seen me before, put it that way. No, it's fine. I would have preferred to play the weekend obviously. But not to be. I played my best and today my best wasn't good enough.
Q. In 2003 at Firestone, Tiger was on your tail there, wasn't he, going down the stretch.
DARREN CLARKE: I can't remember.
Q. He was chasing you. Your friendship, it goes all the way back to that message left on the locker in the final.
DARREN CLARKE: It was before that.
Q. Seems to be something special about that occasion.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, he's been the world's best player for a very, very long time, and you know, despite all of the stuff that's happened to him, we still remain good friends.
Q. Where did it start, your friendship?
DARREN CLARKE: '96 at Lytham we played whenever he was an amateur and when I was working with Butch, I was with him a bit in Vegas whenever he was there and stuff.
Q. Is he on an inexorable decline -- (laughter).
DARREN CLARKE: It would be a very brave man that would write that about Tiger Woods.
Q. What do you like about that course? Straight up, straight down?
DARREN CLARKE: I don't know. Just I played well there before. So I just liked it. I don't know why. No particular reason. Just liked it.
Q. Will you do some fishing over the next couple of days?
DARREN CLARKE: Probably. I don't know. I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do yet. We'll see.
Q. Better weather for it today.
DARREN CLARKE: Perfect today for a bit of fishing. Perfect for a bit of golf, too.
Q. 11, 12, you were on track at that stage?
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, just bogey, bogey, bogey. I miss-read my putt on 11 from four feet, completely misread it. And I hit a perfect tee shot up 12. But the guys all said, good shot, and it kicked 40 degrees straight left into the bunker and made bogey from there.
And then on the next, I pushed my tee shot, hit a perfect second shot, caught the edge of the bunker and didn't get it up-and-down. Three tough holes and I didn't play them that badly but I went bogey, bogey, bogey.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports