DARREN CLARKE winner of 140th open

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Here is Darren’s post Open Championship win Press Conference conducted by Lynn Wallace at Royal St George’s.

LYNN WALLACE: Ladies and gentlemen, we’re joined by the 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke. How does it feel, Darren? (Applause.) 
DARREN CLARKE: Pretty amazing right now, to tell you the truth. You know, it’s been a dream since I’ve been a kid to win The Open, like any kid’s dream is, and I’m able to do it, which just feels incredible, incredible right now.

Q. I have to say I didn’t see this coming when I saw you duff your tee shot on 16 on Wednesday. 
DARREN CLARKE: You never see a lot coming, never mind anything else (laughter.)
I actually didn’t duff it. That shows how little you know about the sport you cover. I cut it into the wind and I cut it a little bit too much and I came up short. But no, I’ve been playing lovely for a while. I got really, really frustrated on Sunday up at Inverness because I played really nice for the first two days and then played poorly on the Sunday, but came down here, knew I was hitting the ball well, knew it was obviously on links again, and I was really excited and looking forward to it. 
That being said, I still wasn’t in the best of humour on Tuesday, but spent a bit of time as I told you earlier with Bob Rotella. My golf seems to — if I feel as if I’m putting better, my whole game seems to be better, and that’s what happened to me this week. I didn’t putt fantastic, but I was pretty solid.

Q. At what point today — you got a couple of bounces that went your way, obviously. 
DARREN CLARKE: I did, I did.

Q. But at what point did you start thinking to yourself this is my day?
DARREN CLARKE: You never really think that up until you’re on the 18th green with a couple of shots ahead. You never know what’s going to happen. I got a couple of good breaks that went my way. Yesterday I played as good as I could play from tee to green and I didn’t really get anything out of it. Today I played not bad; I played okay. Got a couple of good breaks that went my way. Also at the same time hit lots of great putts today which burnt the edges and doesn’t go in. So it sort of balanced out. 
But there’s times you can get a couple of good breaks but it could have easily just gone the other way, and that’s the game, that’s links golf and that’s the way it is. I actually did not take anything for granted until it was on the back edge of the 18th green there. I’ve got enough shot — 17 I was not going to make anything worse than bogey, you know, trying to play the last two holes pretty smart, and I hit a really good tee shot off the 18th tee right in the middle of the fairway. 
Excuse me for a little and I’ll have a little sip. 
Anyway, you can’t take anything for granted. It was just one of those things where I was trying to be sensible. As I said yesterday, I’m going to go out and try and play my best, and my best today was enough to win.

Q. We know you’re a pretty emotional character, how on earth did you manage to keep a lid on your emotions during the 18 holes? And again during and before the presentation?
DARREN CLARKE: I’m just older, just a little bit older and allegedly a little bit wiser. But I certainly have a few thoughts going through my head when I was walking onto the green on 18 because at that stage I could have four putts from there, and even I figured I could manage to get down in four from the edge of the green there. But the few thoughts, thinking about the past, and then again with the “Beeb” doing interview and then making a speech, but you know, I can only be as normal as I am. So if I didn’t feel a little bit emotional it wouldn’t quite be right. I was but just about managed to cling onto it.

Q. You joked earlier in the week that you play better golf when you’re carrying a bit of condition. 
DARREN CLARKE: I like that. I’m going to use that myself.

Q. After this could you see yourself going on a diet?
DARREN CLARKE: I’m on Weight Watchers tomorrow morning. I’m at Chubby’s apartment, so I’m going eat and drink as much as I want tonight and he’s going to help me on it tomorrow morning.

Q. You’re seriously going to go on Weight Watchers in the morning? Points, all that —
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, all that sort of stuff. He might give me an extra day off if I’m nice to him tonight.

Q. How much are you planning to lose?
DARREN CLARKE: No idea, we’ll see. I’ll probably get bored with it in a week and give up. (Laughter.) I think this could probably be a bad week for me to try and start. I think every time there’s five points in a pint of Guinness, I think it’s a real bad week for me to start. With Chubby doing it, I can’t get away from listening about him doing it.

Q. I think there are about 40,000 people here and I’m sure at least 39,000 of them wanted you to win. How much was the crowd at Sandwich a factor?
DARREN CLARKE: They were sensational for me all week. They really were. The support they have given me through the bad weather as well as the good weather. They were all out there roaring and shouting. It was just brilliant to have that amount of support. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that amount of support. The fans could not have been any better for me this week. They really were. They’ve been a pleasure. They’ve been very, very kind to me.

Q. There were some idiot golf writers out there who wrote you off. 
DARREN CLARKE: Hang on, let me just scratch my little — no, I’m trying to recollect your little line. “He’s in his inexorable slide toward relevance.” Is that what you said? Is that what you said? I’ve got the paper at home. I can show it to you if you don’t believe me, “inexorable slide towards relevance.” This is a mirage. Carry on, sorry.

Q. At any time in the last few years did you doubt yourself? Did you think you were possibly sliding into golfing relevance?
DARREN CLARKE: You know, bad times in golf are more frequent than the good times. You know, I’ve always been pretty hard on myself when I fail because I don’t find it very easy to accept that. And there’s times I’ve been completely and utterly fed up with the game. But friends and family and Chubby say, get out there and practice and keep going, keep going, keep going, and that’s why I’m sitting here now.

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