Blog: Clarke says Open win won't change him

Darren Clarke, of Northern Ireland, smokes on the fifth hole during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011, at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

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2:40 p.m.: Winning the British won't change Darren Clarke

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- Darren Clarke said Tuesday that he doesn’t think winning the Open Championship will change him as a person or player. What it did change, however, was his preparation for the year’s final major.

“All I will say,” Clarke said, “is that I’m still a little bit tired.”

His recent results -- those post-Open, at least -- support that claim. Two weeks after winning at Royal St. George’s, Clarke missed the cut at the Irish Open. Last week, at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he opened with 77-74 and eventually finished 68th in the 76-man field.

Tired golfers and major-championship venues don’t typically mesh well. Temperatures all week in the mid-90s won’t help, either. (“Obviously I’m a fine-tuned athlete, so it shouldn’t affect me that much,” he quipped.) But Clarke, who will turn 43 on Sunday, said that he doesn’t feel any added pressure to back up his major victory with another strong performance this week at Atlanta Athletic Club.

“You guys know me as well as I do,” he said. “I play well sometimes and I play poorly sometimes. I’ve always been the same way, and I don’t think anything will change.”

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2:15 p.m.: Scott avoids Tiger-Williams controversy; Donald, Westwood speak up

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- Reaction continues to pour in over caddie Steve Williams’ interview with reporters Sunday in which he, among other things, called his victory with Adam Scott “the best win I’ve ever had.” That comment, of course, raised plenty of eyebrows, seeing how Williams was on the bag for 13 of Tiger Woods’ major championships, some of which -- the 2001 Masters, '08 U.S. Open, for instance -- are particularly memorable.

But one guy who didn’t make too much of the whole Tiger-Stevie spat? Williams’ new boss, Scott.

“Well, I certainly don’t think it was his intention to steal my moment at all,” Scott said Tuesday at Atlanta Athletic Club. “He was asked these questions and he gave his honest answer ... With a lot of things to do with anything related to Tiger Woods, it’s all scrutinized and blown out of proportion.”

Scott said he spoke with Williams sometime after the Bridgestone and hopes to “let our clubs do the talking for the rest of the week.”

That didn’t stop other players from sounding off on the hottest early-week topic at the PGA Championship. Every player who was invited into the media center Tuesday was asked about the incident. Their responses, predictably, were varied.

World No. 1 Luke Donald: “I think Stevie was given the opportunity to talk and he had the right to say what he wanted to say. The only disappointing thing that I found personally from it was there was no talk of how pleased he was about Adam winning. It was a little bit deflected away from Adam winning, and obviously the caddie does play an important role, but I think if he had mentioned about something about Adam, this wouldn’t have been an issue.”

World No. 2 Lee Westwood: “I thought there was no relevance to the interview other than to have a good dig at Tiger Woods in the ribs. ... I just don’t see the point in putting him on TV.”

Bubba Watson, who has had his far share of, um, interesting comments in the press recently (see: Bubba’s adventure in France): “Media just runs with stuff. It might have been his best week. We don’t know.”

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