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An Interview with Clark & Westwood

September 17, 2004

JULIUS MASON: Darren, would you mind giving us some thoughts on your match today, please and then we'll get some comments from Lee and we'll go to Q&A.

DARREN CLARKE: We got off to a poor start, Tiger had a fantastic second shot into No. 2, they made birdie there and went 1-up and then we sort of made two bogeys next two holes and the guys got off to a 3-up start on us. We just sort of steadied the ship and kept on going, being in these positions before in foursomes playing Ryder Cup, we knew that things can turn around very quickly.

Unfortunately for Tiger on the back nine, they made a couple of mistakes and we made a couple of birdies and managed to just sneak out on top there.

LEE WESTWOOD: Pretty much the same, really. We got off to a bad start. We gave them the third and the fourth. It's not the start you want in foursomes because it's very hard to turn the momentum around, but we managed to in pretty spectacular style and gradually edged our way back into the match and felt as if the momentum and the way the match was going was going in our favor. We're obviously very pleased to beat two such good players.

But a point is a point, and I suppose we'll go away tonight, regroup again, do the same things we did last night and come back tomorrow morning focused on what we're trying to do and try to pick up more points tomorrow.

Q. Might there be a fair amount of discussion or celebration about the fact that your team beat woods/Mickelson twice today?

LEE WESTWOOD: There won't be any celebration, that's for sure. There will be discussion, but there won't be any celebrating till Sunday night.

Q. For either player, how much did Colin and Padraig beating Phil and Tiger, how much did that maybe give you guys a little confidence going into the afternoon and also, did you get the sense Phil and Tiger were ever real comfortable together?

DARREN CLARKE: I think Monty and Padraig this morning, I think they birdied 8 of the first 11 holes, so it doesn't really matter who they are going to play against, they are going to be a pretty strong pairing.

Thankfully for us, they managed to come out on top this morning.

Going out to play this morning against Tiger and Phil, we were both really, really looking forward to it. We knew they would want to come out firing and get some points on the board for the U.S, you know, whenever they did get off to a good start, we just had to settle down and try to play our way back into the match, which we did. You know, if you'd have taken a look at that pairing at the start of the day, Phil and Tiger and said they would not get any points from today, a lot of people wouldn't have believed you.

But, that's the Ryder Cup. That's foursomes golf, especially this afternoon, it's very, very difficult, and they just made a few mistakes on the back nine today and we've got a few things that went our way and things that went against those guys, so that's why we came out on top this afternoon.

Q. Can one of you guys describe the interaction between Tiger and Phil?

LEE WESTWOOD: (Laughter.) Yeah, we didn't really pay any attention to it, to be perfectly honest. (Laughter.)

DARREN CLARKE: We were too bothered by ourselves to get back in the game.

LEE WESTWOOD: You can't afford to, you just concentrate on your own game and what your partner is doing. You just add the scores up at the end of the hole and we didn't pay too much attention to what Tiger and Phil were doing, whether they were reading each other putts or whether they were talking too much. So there's your answer.

Q. What has Bernhard today brought into the mix beyond the pairings, what has he contributed as a captain to this first day?

DARREN CLARKE: He's very organized, he's very thorough. He's put a lot of time and thought into his pairings. He's been there, done it all before. I think a lot of his experiences have shown through today with his choice of pairings, and I think a lot of the credit for today's score would be down to the thoroughness of Bernhard.

Q. The drive on 18 of Phil's really kind of iced it one way or the other, is that a Ryder Cup phenomena, having a guy hit it 40 or 50 yards off line?

LEE WESTWOOD: There's a lot of pressure on the Ryder Cup. There's a lot of pressure on the first tee, so you can imagine how much pressure there is on the 18 tee shot. It's probably an uncomfortable tee shot for Phil, he likes to fade the ball, the hole is sloping the wrong way, the wind is off the left for him. He chose to hit a 3-wood, and everybody is entitled to and everybody can make a bad swing every now and again. It's just he did it at a critical time in the match.

Q. 6 1/2 to 1 1/2 is the biggest deficit the U.S. has ever faced on one day, so congratulations there.

But I think it was McGinley who said, "I think we've left them a wounded animal", any danger you might have just made them mad, punched them in the nose and now the shoe is kind of on the other foot?

DARREN CLARKE: Well, if anybody had said to us this morning we were going to lead 6 1/2, 1 1/2, we definitely would have taken a very strange look at them. We've played some very good golf today. I believe from what I've been told, we've holed our fair share on the greens and had the ball rolling for us. In the Ryder Cup, invariably, sometimes the ball runs for a team for a while and then it turns and runs for the other team.

As Lee said earlier, if we can win 6 1/2 to 1/2, then the Americans can do that tomorrow as well. So we have to be prepared to come out and play as good of golf tomorrow as we've done today as a team.

Q. You've mentioned righting the ship. Are the keys more mental or physical for you specifically?

LEE WESTWOOD: It wasn't a physical thing. You know, we both played fairly well in the morning. I think we both felt like we were swinging it well. We just needed to regroup mentally as a team and start again really, just focus on not giving away holes.

There's nothing you can do about the 3-wood Tiger hit to the second. It was a fantastic shot, one of the best shots we've seen in a long time. But you can do something about making bogeys on 3 and 4, because that's just giving holes away.

So we decided we'd try to do that over the next few holes. Phil hit a poor tee shot off 6 which gave us a bit of a chance because they made bogey on 6.

I hit a good tee shot or second shot into 7 and so that swung the momentum and the flow of the match in our favor slightly.

Darren hit a great shot on 9 and I didn't capitalize on it. But I hit a great shot on 10 and we made birdie there.

11, we got a bit lucky because they were in the fairway and we were in the bunker and we won the hole from there.

That's just the way foursomes golf is. It's probably the hardest format of golf to play. If you don't start well, it's very difficult to turn it around. But if you do happen to turn it around, it's very, very difficult for the people to get off to a good start to get it back in their favor again.

DARREN CLARKE: And the fact that Lee and I have traveled around the world with each other for 12 and 13 years, we know each other's game inside out and we know what shots we are capable of hitting. So when he says "right the ship" we know what we can do. We just started staying very patient and hitting fairways and greens. If you do that in foursomes, that's pretty good.

Q. You both came off, I believe it was the 7th green and you were both laughing, you were still down at that time, is that a sign of confidence?

LEE WESTWOOD: I wasn't laughing; I was shaking.

Q. Would you care to share the humor with us since you're laughing?

LEE WESTWOOD: I'll share it with you because he'll make it sound too good.


LEE WESTWOOD: I hit it to three feet and there was a lot of break on it. There was a pitchmark on the line and he said, "Straight over the pitchmark", and I thought, "Oh, God, how hard is he going to hit this."

And he hits it and it hit the back of the hole and jumped up and went in.

DARREN CLARKE: I do get a little carried away now and then. I try to bang them in. I'm glad the hole got in the way.

LEE WESTWOOD: But I trust him and that's what foursomes golf is all about.

Q. Before the match, did you guys either talk about or think about '99 when you two were matched up with Tiger and Duval when they were 1 and 2 for the Americans?

DARREN CLARKE: We didn't think about it before going out but we did mention it whenever we had finished. You know, the two of us, we can play now and again, and we're not easily intimidated by anyone. We looked upon today as an opportunity for the two of us to go out and not so much prove ourselves but to go out there and enjoy ourselves and take on No. 2 and No. 4 in the world. We managed to do that and just come through and get another point for the team. We're here, team members, but certainly that was a great point for us to turn the game around and come back and win that point.

Q. Two quick questions about the golf course. All four matches had a momentum swing between 9, 10 and 11. Do you think that the golf course is in any way shaped that way? And second question, who or what is the decision-making factor, who plays the odd and even holes, because all par 3s are odd holes.

LEE WESTWOOD: Darren's playing the odd holes because he's a great iron player. I'm playing the even holes because I'm generally a straight driver of the ball.

DARREN CLARKE: (Laughing).

LEE WESTWOOD: I threw the ball to him on the first and he hit off the first. Simple.

DARREN CLARKE: 9, 10, 11, no, there's no real things out there where momentum will change. It will change many times before the end of the week. There's no particular holes. It can be anywhere on the golf course. But again, from what you're saying, we just managed to make the most of those holes today.

Q. Five years on from Brookline, five years older obviously, are you both better equipped physically to play five matches now than you were then?

DARREN CLARKE: Can you not tell? (Laughter.)

I holed a putt on, which hole was it, 14, from about four feet, five feet for a halve. You know, I turned to Lee and said, "You know, we've come a long way from Valderrama." Which is again going back before Brookline.

But at Valderrama, the two of us were rookies at that one and now we know what we're doing an awful lot better. Hence today, again, after going 3-down early, we didn't panic and just carried on playing. Whereas if it had been our first Ryder Cup, A, we would not have been playing with each other; and B, we definitely would have been panicking.

JULIUS MASON: Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, folks. Thank you very much.

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