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THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

July 14, 2011

Darren Clarke

SANDWICH, ENGLAND

Q. Very good round, and clearly that was a mixture of just steady good golf the whole way.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I played very nicely. I hit the ball solidly all day. Most of the time I was in control. How many bogeys did I make, two, I think, and both of them I drove in the fairway bunkers, which weren't that great a shot, but the fairway bunkers are very, very penal. But overall played nicely.
Been lucky this week, seen an old friend of mine, Bob Rotella who's here this week, I haven't seen him for quite some time and was able to catch up with him because my ball-striking and tee-to-green stuff has been very good, very solid, but the putter has been today, but today it was very good.

Q. You come to a major like this you must get a whiff of something --
DARREN CLARKE: No, it's only the first day, but I played very nicely. My ball flight was pretty much under control all day, and that's what you've got to do well to play well in links. We got very lucky this afternoon with the draw. The guys this morning had it tough because I was watching it on TV earlier and they got the tough side of the draw. There's hardly anything going on out there at all. I would expect a lot more good scores coming in this afternoon.

Q. If your putter gets going you can really get on fire. You have three rounds to go. Obviously there's a chance if your putter remains hot as it was today.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, I didn't hole everything today by any stretch of the imagination but I putted nicely. Any time I step back on links I always enjoy it. This one is particularly difficult because of the undulation in the fairways and the demand that it puts on the second shots. It's just a real, real tough, stern test. You've got to stay patient this week, which has not always been one of my strong points. But this week that's what the Open and around links is all about.


Q. And if you get the right end of the draw, do you hope the gas in the tank sustains something?
DARREN CLARKE: I'm not that old yet, am I? I'm only 42. I still behave as if I'm 14. But no, I'm enjoying it. The golf course is great, fantastic. It's the biggest and best tournament in the world. Why wouldn't I enjoy it?

Q. What did Bob Rotella say to you?
DARREN CLARKE: I can't tell you that. He charged me a lot of money, so I can't tell you that. He knows me inside out. We've worked together for a very long time.

Q. Acceptance perhaps?
DARREN CLARKE: As I said, we've worked together for a long time. The Open is the biggest and best tournament in the world. That's what I've said. It's the only major that's played on the turf that the game was started on, and it's the biggest and best tournament in the world.

Q. What was the best part of your game today for you?
DARREN CLARKE: Nothing in particular. Everything was just solid. Everything was pretty good. I had no outrageous up-and-downs, had no outrageous birdies, just everything was pretty good. 2-under, couldn't have had much more. It's okay. I had chances, as well, that I didn't hole.

Q. (Inaudible.)
DARREN CLARKE: That was pre-Rotella. No, you see a couple going in and everything changes.

Q. How comfortable do you feel out there on links? Does it give you a real buzz?
DARREN CLARKE: It does. As you know, I moved back home to Portrush last summer, so I'm playing all my golf at Royal Portrush now. That's where I'm practising playing. After having lived in London for 13 years, I wasn't playing as much links golf as I would have liked, but now that I'm back there that's what I'm playing, so I feel very comfortable with it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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