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THE IRISH OPEN


June 28, 2012


Darren Clarke


PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND

Q.テつ Going out in 38, with the rain delay, did it come at the right time?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Yeah, I think it did.テつ I got off to a decent start, 1‑under through five and that's not too bad around here.テつ And then played a few holes of which you'd have no idea I've been a member for 27 years, short‑sided myself, missed in the wrong place.テつ Then made a poor swing off the 8th tee into the heavy rough on the left.
But you know, all in all, very pleased that I came back.テつ A couple of chances on the back nine, as well.テつ 17 was disappointing.テつ All in all, 1‑under, I was hoping for better, but I can't complain after going back out 2‑over and continuing on after the delay.

Q.テつ Describe your emotions with the atmosphere and you had a big part in playing in this coming in.
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Wonderful.テつ I would just assume that the weather came in as it did, otherwise I think every fairway and tee and everything would have been surrounded coming in.
But it's a testament to all of the fans, how many stayed and waited for us to get back out there.テつ It's wonderful to have a tournament of this stature here at Royal Portrush and wonderful to have the Irish Open here and to have all of the spectators come and support.
Being sold out is unheard of, especially in these tough economic times; to have as many people come and supporting it, I think it's a wonderful effort by everybody involved.

Q.テつ Playing yesterday with your son and dad in the Pro‑Am, in front of thousands, how did they deal with that?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Well, Dad was a little bit nervous.テつ Tyrone took a few quid off me, made eight pars and two birdies, maybe more than me.テつ They enjoyed it and was a very proud moment for me standing on the tee and having Conor coming on to the tee, as well.テつ
I've been fortunate that the game has been very, very good to me for a very long time, and was very special and indeed today and hopefully the rest of the week.

Q.テつ For The Open Championship to come here, you can't see any reason why not, can you?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ I'm not foolish enough to try to putt word's in the R&A's mouth.テつ They obviously know what they are doing with The Open Championship, and all we can do is try and show that we can cope on all levels with a major tournament such as this.テつ I think if this is anything to go by, it's shown that we can have a major tournament.
But there's all of the bits and pieces that goes into hosting The Open as well and we hope that this will be another step in the right direction; that they will take a look and give it due consideration.

Q.テつ A day of two halves; what happened in the first nine and how did it correct itself in the second?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ I started off okay, and then made three or four really, really stupid mistakes; as if I didn't know the golf course.テつ But then the rain delay came in, we came in, came back out, played nicely after that and gave myself quite a few chances.テつ To get it back to 1‑over after going out 2‑over in the rain was pretty good.

Q.テつ As you say, you probably had ideas of shooting a much lower number?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Yeah, did I.テつ These are not the most difficult greens that Royal Portrush can play in and I did get myself off to a decent start, 1‑under through five is not bad here and then just some stupid shots, short‑sided myself, and you can't afford to do that around this golf course.

Q.テつ The support from the fans has been fantastic and I know you've been talking about that this week; how much does it mean to you?
DARREN CLARKE: テつTo come to Royal Portrush and have all of these people here, taking a look down the 18th fairway after the delay, they are six and seven deep; it's incredible.テつ We have had as much support as we have had this week.テつ It's wonderful for the Irish Open and wonderful for Royal Portrush.
Tomorrow, go out and play the way I did today, but minimise the mistakes.テつ I made too many today.テつ I made four silly mistakes out there today and try to eradicate those and maybe hole one or two more putts.

Q.テつ Fair to say a tale of two nines today?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Yes, I got off to a pretty good start and then made a few really, really stupid mistakes and paid for those with bogeys.テつ The rain delay, lightning delay, came probably just at the right time for me.テつ I came he being back in and gathered myself and went back out to shoot 3‑under from there.テつ I had a few more chances but to get it back under par was pretty good.テつ I was hoping for better going out but all in all, I can't complain.

Q.テつ Disappointed you didn't birdie 17?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Yeah, I just wasn't comfortable over the putt, I had two big spike marks right in front of me and I couldn't get comfortable with it.テつ I had chances there and made a couple of really good shots in on 14 and 15 and didn't convert those either.

Q.テつ First real test of this golf course with a sellout crowd today.テつ People keep saying it feels like The Open.
DARREN CLARKE:テつ It does.テつ It's been a wonderful atmosphere, with as many people as there is here and I think it's a testament to the fact that we have the Irish Open, one of the biggest tournaments of the year this will be, and it's just wonderful to see the Irish Open here at Royal Portrush.

Q.テつ Finally earlier in this programme, we saw you playing with your son in the Pro‑Am yesterday, some fantastic pictures for the Clarke family and good memories this year?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ The game has been very good to me for a very long time, and yesterday on the first tee with our Pro‑Am team and Conor coming to join us was very, very special.

Q.テつ A bit of maimed bag out there today, wasn't it?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Yeah, I got off to a pretty good start and then made a few stupid, stupid mistakes and paid the penalty for that.テつ But then rallied after the delay and made a few birdies and at least got it back under par.

Q.テつ Potential for low scoring, especially if the wind is not too bad over the next few days?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Yeah, the forecast is stronger winds from a slightly different direction.テつ I think that's about the easiest wind you can get at Royal Portrush today and that's reflected in the scores.テつ But if the wind switches, which it is forecast to, and gets up a little bit, it will be a tougher test than it was today.

Q.テつ And finally it's come; what was it like out there today?
DARREN CLARKE:テつ It was brilliant.テつ It was wonderful on the first tee.テつ All of the people come here to see obviously all of the guys from Ireland, but also the warmth that they showed to the rest of our fellow pros that have come from all of the world to play here, just, it's brilliant.

Q.テつ Everyone is talking about getting The Open back, and surely everything has been good so far.
DARREN CLARKE:テつ Yeah, I think you've got to show that the course and infrastructure everything and can handle The Open Championship.テつ It's the biggest and best tournament in the world, and you know, if we can do anything to show that the tournament, the golf course, the whole area is able to contend with The Open, then that's maybe one more step in the right direction.テつ It's been a fantastic tournament so far, and I'm sure the next three days are going to be no different.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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