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October 17, 2011
JULIUS MASON: Darren Clarke, competing the 29th Grand Slam of Golf, where did we come from, some thoughts about the golf course first time on the island and we'll talk about the round today.
DARREN CLARKE: How many questions was that?
JULIUS MASON: Travel?
DARREN CLARKE: Travelled from London yesterday. Got in last night, late last night. So up early, practicing and stuff. Didn't do me much good. But got to go and do a little bit more now. Thought the course was good. The par 3s are very strong, very, very strong, all of them. And you've got a few chances out there, but if you miss in the wrong place, you're dead.
So it was a couple of holes that I took a look at that I didn't quite see the shot off the tee, and sort of figured it out a little bit. So hopefully tomorrow will be a little bit better.
JULIUS MASON: First time in Bermuda?
DARREN CLARKE: Second time in Bermuda. Was here about 15 years ago on vacation. Still as beautiful as ever.
Q. Now that you've had some time to digest The Open Championship, can you just talk about what it's like to have the Claret Jug as The Open Champion?
DARREN CLARKE: Obviously it's fantastic to have it. It's been doing a lot of travelling with me, here there and everywhere, and I think I may be second in all-time names on the jug that have been out in pubs; I think Mr. Daly might have had a few more than me (chuckling) but I think I'm pushing him hard, and I might just get past him. It's been everywhere.
I like to take it out and let people, especially at home, see it, otherwise they wouldn't get a chance to see it. It's not like the other trophies, which are huge, like Rory's and Keegan's; they are massive. It's a little more difficult to take those out or show them the green jacket. There's been a few people that have dropped it after a few too many drinks and I've tried to fix it to the best of my ability, but still in one piece.
Q. Just talking about Rory and you both being here, and I was just wondering what that was like for you.
DARREN CLARKE: It was great. He's probably more jet-lagged than I am at the minute. No, it's great. He came through my foundation many, many years ago, and to think now that the two of us are competing in the same Grand Slam is fantastic. You know, he's obviously a precocious talent and he's just going to get better and better and better.
Q. Given that you turned processional a year after he was born, how old does that make you feel?
DARREN CLARKE: Thank you very much. If you want to give me -- (laughing) -- to play with the guys the next three days, I'm quite happy. I'll just walk around in a push chair and stuff. I'm here -- old, but I'm still here.
Q. Your dad is here; how special is that to have him -- I know you said a reward to him for all he's done for you.
DARREN CLARKE: Most definitely, my mom and dad, my fiancĂ©e is here and a couple of friends who supported me through all my years growing up, and it's nice just to get them a little bit back again. My mom and dad travel with me now here and there and everywhere and enjoy themselves. This is obviously a very, very special event. Took me a long time to get here, so it's nice to have them here with me.
JULIUS MASON: Congratulations on earning a trip to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Let's talk a little bit about what you saw out there today. Is this, first of all, your first time to Bermuda.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it's my first time. Unbelievable place. Some of the views out here are crazy. Really, really nice course, too.
JULIUS MASON: Maybe some thoughts about the golf course specifically? What did you like out there.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I thought it's very fair. I think you can shoot some good numbers if you play well, but as I'm sure it gets very, very windy out here, and I bet you it's real tough.
Q. You've had the opportunity to do some cool things since winning the PGA Championship, first pitch at Fenway; what's been the coolest?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Coming here is pretty cool. This is really fun for me. But throwing the first pitch at Fenway and then the Patriots thing, I grew up idolizing the Red Sox and Patriots players. To be out there with them talking to them is pretty special. That was awesome.
Q. Just wanted to ask you whether you had seen some comments that Greg Norman had made recently just regarding yourself and The Presidents Cup.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I saw what he said. It's kind of a touchy subject. I appreciate, he obviously has a lot of faith in me which I really appreciate. Greg Norman is a great guy. I think that Freddie had a really tough decision, and he did what he thought was best for the team. So I hope to be on a Presidents Cup team, Ryder Cup teams to come, so hopefully it wasn't that big of a deal for me.
Q. Can you talk about, you have quite a crew with you this week, who is with you; and just a reward for all of them for providing you with so much growing up?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I got pretty much my whole immediate family here, my agent, some of my managers. Without all of them I would not be here. It's great to hang out with everybody and see them all having fun. It all came together perfectly for the PGA, and to be here with everybody and share it is awesome.
Q. When it comes time to make your goals for next season, is there going to be a significant adjustment considering how successful you've been?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, definitely. I wrote down five goals to start this year and I achieved all of them and maybe some more. I didn't have a Major Championship on there.
But I'm going to have to adjust them, and you know, just like any other player out here, we all want to be the best we can be, and I'd like to keep winning tournaments, majors, Ryder Cups, Presidents Cups, stuff like that.
JULIUS MASON: Charl Schwartzel, ladies and gentlemen, Masters Champion, welcome to Bermuda and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Let's start by letting everybody know where you've come from to be here, as far as destination, airport.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Thank you, very much. It's a fantastic place to be it, great position to be in to be able to be here. Yeah, we flew all the way in from South Africa. Yeah, took us about 33 hours door to door.
JULIUS MASON: Only 33 hours, very good. Had you been to Bermuda before?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: First time here. Never been here. Only heard about it.
JULIUS MASON: Has it let you down? What does the golf course look like out there?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: I love it. I think definitely not the toughest course we play on, but I judge a golf course by the amount of times I can play it, and I think this is a golf course that I can play over and over without getting tired of it. Played yesterday, we had a little bit of a breeze.
Today was nothing. I think it's so much different, the scenarios you can get here; the wind comes up, the golf course always changes. It's a really pretty course, fantastic views, and you know, it's a course I can play over and over. Love it.
JULIUS MASON: The Grand Slam begins tomorrow.
Q. What would it mean to get a pink jacket along with the green jacket you get for winning here?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: It would be great. I could start a collection of colors of jackets. (Laughter).
Q. Can you just talk about things for you off the course since winning the Masters? Been much more hectic? What's it been like?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: It's obviously been a lot more busy. It's not like I won some other tournament. You won "the" Masters, and there's been a bit more -- I've had to give a little bit more of my time, but it's been all great. That's why we practice as hard as we do to get in these situations.
I think we have handled -- we have scheduled our time well, so I've never felt like it's been too much for me. And I would love to be in this situation over and over.
Q. Can you just talk a little about Rory, he had a tough Sunday at the Masters, and you had a plane ride with him afterwards, and you were great with him as you would be, but what did it mean to you to see him win the U.S. Open? I'm sure that's a tournament you wanted to win, too, but to see him bounce back, a friend, after the Sunday that he had at Augusta.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: I think that in a way, even that I won the Masters, I felt for him, because I know he was gutted. He was leading. Everyone was thinking he was going to win. You know, and golf is a funny thing. You have got to play 72 holes before you get a champion.
We got on that plane, and he was the one that suggested we take a photo. I never wanted to shove it in his face. I put it away, and he said, "Take it out, let's take a photo." That's the type of guy he is. I think we all knew that he was going to win a very big tournament. He's always in contention in all of the majors he does so well in, and to come out straightaway the very next one was really something and I was very happy for him.
JULIUS MASON: Bring out your pens and make sure it has enough ink in it, because we are going to try to figure out all this journey, what it made up of for Rory to be here today. We do have Rory McIlroy with us at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda, at the beginning: How did you get here, how did it start, where did you come from, how many hours on the plane, how many hours did you sleep: Go!
RORY McILROY: (Laughing) From the actual beginning when I started the trip?
JULIUS MASON: From the very beginning.
RORY McILROY: Well, it started in Scotland. I played the Dunhill Links. From Scotland, I flew to Helsinki, Finland, to get a connecting flight to Seoul and then played in the Korean Open. Then flew from Seoul to Shanghai and then started my little adventure around China last week, seven different cities in seven days.
JULIUS MASON: Feel free to use jets, helicopters, we want those kind of details.
RORY McILROY: Not really, I don't want to -- (laughter). But yeah, then the seven cities around China. So went Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Beijing, Dalian, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Macou.
JULIUS MASON: Ten points for remembering all that.
RORY McILROY: Thank you. And then we ended up in Macou and got a helicopter from Macou to Hong Kong last night and then flew from Hong Kong to L.A., and took off 11:40 from Hong Kong on Sunday night and landed in L.A. at 9:40 on Sunday night. So actually lost two hours on a 13-hour flight. And then yeah, then flew from L.A. to here, yeah. So here we are.
JULIUS MASON: So the question for Chubby, I guess, is Red Bull going to be sponsoring you in the future?
RORY McILROY: No, I feel fine. Actually I feel okay. Chubby gave me a couple of his sleeping pills that knocked me out for 11 hours on the flight from Hong Kong to L.A., so I actually feel fine. I feel okay. I might be falling asleep and my head might be in my soup tonight at dinner but I feel okay.
JULIUS MASON: Have you been to Bermuda before?
RORY McILROY: Never. First time.
JULIUS MASON: What do you think of the golf course?
RORY McILROY: Golf course is nice. It's a great track. I mean, for modern standards, it's probably a little short, but it's a fun golf course to play. It looks like you can make a lot of birdies on it, and there's a few spectacular holes on the back nine, especially 16 is great.
But you know, in general it just looks like a beautiful place and I wish I could spend a little longer here. But I'm only here for three days unfortunately.
JULIUS MASON: I'm told if you win another major, you can come back.
RORY McILROY: It will be my goal from now until the end of my career to get back here, definitely, every year.
Q. Obviously you have to do something special to get here; how much more special is it to be here with Darren, as well?
RORY McILROY: Obviously you realize it's special, but when you actually get here and it's only the four of you, it feels special, and obviously for Darren to be here, I don't think that anybody would that thought we would win our first majors in the same year.
It's worked out really nicely and it's great to have him here and I'm very close with Charl, as well. I don't really know Keegan that well but he's a great guy and Ben Harrison looks after him, who used to be with Chubby and I at ISM, so I know him pretty well.
It looks like it's a good group of guys and obviously we all feel very privileged and lucky that we are here.
Q. Are you excited about the fact that you actually get to stay on the ground for the next few days?
RORY McILROY: I actually unpacked for the first time this morning. I had to putt a few things into laundry because I was in China I didn't know what was -- I didn't know what way to come back. So, yeah, it's nice to actually stay putt for a while.
Q. The Grand Slam has a unique atmosphere in the sense that the crowd can get closer to the players than normal; did you experience some of that in the Pro-Am today? How did that feel?
RORY McILROY: It feels great. I think that's one of the great things about golf that the crowd, and even things like the Pro-Am, fans can interact with the players so much more in it golf than they can at any other sport. It's fantastic that they get to walk the fairways -- I think they get to walk the fairways here -- do they? Yeah.
It's great and sort of brings you back to your amateur days and playing, and I have great memories of the Walker Cup in 2007 where it was my last event as an amateur, and some of the pictures from there, thousands of people walking up the fairway, pretty cool.
Q. Curious how Gary Williams did on the bag?
RORY McILROY: He was great. He actually only had to caddie 17 holes. He missed one out because I was late getting here and had to do a few things. But yeah, he's good. They don't call him "pin-high guy" for nothing.
Q. Wanted to ask you about your play on the course today, how do you think that will put you in shape for the next two days?
RORY McILROY: I'm glad I had a look at the golf course because there's a few lines off the tee to get familiar with, and actually, I mean, surprisingly, I hit it really well. Even coming off all of those flights, I feel like my game is in nice shape. You know, I'm looking forward to the next -- I'm looking forward to the next couple of days. I only have three guys to beat rather than 155 every week. So it should be easier. No, I think we'll have a lot of fun. I'm going to go and enjoy myself and hopefully I'll play some good golf as well.
Q. Just curious your reaction, the young kid doing special things, Tom Lewis winning, what does that say about the world of golf right now?
RORY McILROY: It's incredible. I think it's -- I mean, Tom was basically a semi-pro for the last year of his amateur year, like a lot of the guys, like I was and like a lot of the guys were. They played amateur -- they played professional events as amateurs, and you know, Tom is a supremely confident guy. He said in the media, he said in the press that he wanted to get his card in seven starts and not go to Tour School and sort of do something similar to what I did. He obviously did something a lot better than what I did, winning in his third event.
It's great, guys like him and Manassero and myself, Rickie, Asian guys, Ryo Ishikawa, Seung-yul Noh, a lot of these guys are just so much more ready to come out and play. I don't know if it's just because we get experience in the pro events at an earlier age or the coaching is better or the technology is better or what it is. But everyone just seems to be a little bit more ready to come out and play. Bud Cauley obviously just got his third card, as well. All of these guys coming straight out of college and amateur golf are finding it very comfortable on TOUR.
JULIUS MASON: See you tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports