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Tuesday transcript

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Darren Clarke minced no words in describing his play on Tuesday. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)

JULIUS MASON:  Charl Schwartzel with us at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.  Plus four was it for the round?

CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Plus three, actually.  It wasn't that bad.  (Laughter).

JULIUS MASON:  How about some generic thoughts on your round today and we'll go to Q&A.

CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Disappointing.  I thought I actually played really well up until 12.  I hardly missed a shot.  Didn't make any putts on the greens, and yeah, then I 3-putted 12 and missed a short one on 13 and 14.  And then another 3-putt on 16.  That was frustrating.  I'm pretty disappointed.  I thought I played much better.

JULIUS MASON:  Weather conditions completely different than what you experienced yesterday?

CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Yeah, I played Sunday and yesterday, and it was no wind whatsoever.  And yeah, today a little bit more wind but still, it's probably what this course needs.  It was good to play a little bit of wind.  Then we just got a bit of rain coming in the last two holes. But you know, my damage was done before that.

Q.  Can you just talk a little about how quickly things changed out there? Was it like a complete downpour out there and what was that like?

CHARL SCHWARTZEL:
  Yeah, you could see it coming over the ocean, and tried to speed up to see if we could finish before, but that was pretty severe rain.  I think if it carried on raining like that for another half an hour or so, it probably could have flooded the course.

Q.  Was that a factor with the chip shot on 17?

CHARL SCHWARTZEL:
  Probably where the water gathers and it was raining for about 10 minutes really and the ball lying down, the rough is quite difficult to chip out of, not the easiest.  Just came out dead.

Q.  Wondering if you could just talk us through 16 and the first tee shot and what you were trying to do.

CHARL SCHWARTZEL:
  Yeah, 16, I mean, Rory hit 6-iron and it stayed pretty straight.  And that's what I thought, I thought the wind was just dead straight from behind. I hit a good 5-iron and it started where I wanted to, and it just went left.  I don't know, the wind sort of swirled a little bit in there and took the ball left and hit the slope.  It wasn't actually a bad shot.  Yeah, the problem is that you get penalized by hitting off the tee again.

That's the second time around I hit the same shot that finished on the green and I just probably just rushed those putts and ended up 3-putting where I shouldn't have.  But yeah, it's never nice to see your ball starting to move left on that hole.

JULIUS MASON:  After the first round of the 29th PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Rory, nice round today out there.  Some thoughts on your day today, please.

RORY McILROY:  Yeah, it was good.  Actually I hit the ball really well.  I gave myself so many chances on the front nine and didn't really make anything.  Started to hole [some] putts on the back nine but played very, very well.  It was a bonus to par 16 and birdie 17 in that bad weather.  So made up a few shots there. You know, very happy, in a good position going into tomorrow.

Q.  Obviously you mentioned that you missed a couple of putts on the front nine.  

RORY McILROY:
  More than a -- you're being very nice to me.

Q.  Was it getting a little bit frustrating?

RORY McILROY:
  Yeah, it was, because I was reading them, and every time I felt as if I was hitting the putt on the line I wanted to, but it was just going nowhere near the hole.  The greens that I've been putting on the last couple of weeks have been a little different to the greens here.  I had not really been factoring in the grain as much but it plays huge part on these greens.

Q.  Taking that into consideration, you must be very happy with where you are at the moment then.

RORY McILROY:
  Of course.  I finished really, really well.  But to birdie three of the last five holes was great, and at one stage I was behind Keegan; so to draw level with him after the first day was nice.

Q.  I think heard someone say you were in the gym at 6:30 this morning, is that true, and is jet lag just not a factor for you?

RORY McILROY:
  I went in from 6:30 to 7:30.  Went for a half an hour run and did a bit of core.  I was wide awake at 5:30.  So instead of just sort of doing nothing in the hotel room I thought I may as well go and doing something.  And to be honest, I didn't really get a chance to do much gym work last week in China, so it was an opportunity for me to get back in.  I'll probably to go back in this afternoon before going to dinner tonight.

Q.  I believe you were the only one to hit driver on 15.  And just, does it speak your confidence with the driver; do you just love to hit driver?

RORY McILROY:
  Yeah, I'm driving the ball great at the minute.  I didn't expect to get that tee shot so close to the green.  It finished about 10 yards short of the front edge, and it was an easy up and down for birdie.

Q.  You actually almost looked disappointed it didn't go in for 2.

RORY McILROY:
  I didn't ... the chip shot was straight into the green, and you know, if I had been practicing a bit more on these greens I would have trusted that the grain would grab the ball so quickly.  But once it hit the green, it really slows it up and I didn't quite trust that it was going to do that, but it was still a good 3.

Q.  Just wonder what the major challenge was of playing?

RORY McILROY:
  Not much, I think the biggest thing for me today was the greens.  The greens were for me very difficult to read.  I think if I had spent a bit more time on them, if I had spent a bit more time on the greens maybe I would have figured them out a bit better today.

You know, I'll have to just read more into the grain tomorrow and really take that into consideration instead of just the slopes.

JULIUS MASON:  Thanks very much for popping in, Rory.
Keegan Bradley, ladies and gentlemen, atop the scores the first day along with Rory McIlroy. Keegan, a very nice front nine today, a really nice front nine today, two eagles on the front nine, I don't know how often you do that.  But take us through what you experienced out there today, please.

KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I would like to see this shot here, this is about the best shot I've ever hit in my life.  Yeah, it was a great day.  I got off to a really good start and I kind of slowed down on the back, but actually still played very well.  The two putts I missed I thought could have gone in personally, but it was still a lot of fun.

JULIUS MASON:  If you don't mind, if you can talk a little about the eagles that you had today.

KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, I got off to a pretty scary start.  I made probably about a 20-footer for bogey on 1 and then on 2, I hit a really great 6-iron to that pin, that back left pin, basically a tap in and on my second one, I had 218, another 6-iron right at it.  It was really two of the best shots I hit all year really, right at the pin the whole time.

Q.  Might be weird to say you jump started a round with a bogey but with the putt you made on 1, do you think that kind of got you going, got you into it?

KEEGAN BRADLEY:
  Yeah, definitely.  I hit it into the greenside bunker and it was plugged; I could just chop it out to the green.  I left it about 20 feet short.  It was really awesome to make that putt.

Q.  Can you talk about the conditions on the back nine, specifically 17 and 18, completely different from what you had all day?

KEEGAN BRADLEY:
  Yeah, on 17, it was the hardest rain that I have played in all year.  It was blowing straight into our face, hard.  It was very difficult.  I was thinking, trying to make 5. I was really happy to make 5 on that hole and for Rory to make birdie was a really, really good score.

Q.  What is it about the course that suits your eye so well?  Is there something about it that when you played yesterday, you knew you would play well here?

KEEGAN BRADLEY:
  Yeah, it's a good course for people who can hit it out there and hit it high.  You can fly a lot of the bunkers.  It's just a good course. I play a lot of these courses, courses like this in Florida, same grass, Bermuda.  It seems it fit my eye.  Seems to fit Rory's eye, too.  He hit a  of long drivers out there that were really, really impressive.

Q.  Tomorrow, what are you looking at doing when you get out there on the front nine?

KEEGAN BRADLEY:
  You know, I would like to do exactly what I did today on the front.  That would be awesome.  I know it's going to be a little windier tomorrow. But you know, it's a lot of fun to be out there, have the crowds behind you and it's a real different experience for me.  I've never played in an atmosphere like this.  It's really, really fun, and Darren Clarke is such a good guy and he's so funny, it's really fun.

Yeah, it's a lot of fun to be out there with these guys.  I've really enjoyed my time so far.

JULIUS MASON:  Enter, Darren Clarke.  The funniest man in the foursome today, ladies and gentlemen.

DARREN CLARKE:  I hope he was saying lots of nice things. 

JULIUS MASON:  Plenty.  Can you say anything nice about your round today, Darren?

DARREN CLARKE:  Absolutely not.  It was crap.  It was absolute crap.  (Laughter).  And I didn't come all the way here to play that bad.  So obviously disappointed.  That's not I didn't came here.
You know, as I told you the other day, I've just been struggling with my swing.  It's not quite what I want to do, and I'm struggling with my ball striking at the moment.  So if you mix that with putting equally as bad, that usually doesn't add up to a good score.
So, anyway.  I'll try to find the answer in the bottom of a glass this evening and see how that works.

JULIUS MASON:  He's performing tonight, also, at 7 o'clock, ladies and gentlemen.

Q.  Wondering if you had seen the sign on back of 14 and if you had been tempted to go and get a Guinness then?

DARREN CLARKE:
  Yes, I was very tempted to jump over that wall, yes, and go get a Guinness.  Jump being the operative word.  Just one of those sort of days.  I played poorly and I have not hit the ball any good, really, since The Open.  Been trying to change  of things, which is probably foolish, but I'm trying to get a little bit better.

Obviously did well at The Open, but I saw a  of things that I didn't like and I've trying to fix them since and obviously it's gone the other way.

Q.  Yesterday you spoke about the strength of the par 3s here.  16, can you just talk about what makes that hole so difficult?  I know visually it has to be pretty intimidating for the hacker, but what's it like for you guys?

DARREN CLARKE: 
It's visually intimidating for us, as well, not just the higher handicappers. Today was a pretty easy flag, one part of it.  But you get it wrong, you try to hit a little draw in there; or get it wrong if you draw too much; or try and hit a fade and you don't do it.  That's what I did, got underneath it and turned it.

But it demands an awful lot, it was 5-  or 6-iron for us off that back tee today.  It's a tough shot, and you know, you've got to start off and hit a good shot.

Q.  When you got to 17, once that rain started coming down, what was that like?

DARREN CLARKE:
  I thought it was wonderful.  This is a bit more of my weather.  (Laughter) No, it was just a heavy shower.  We get them all the time.

Q.  Did you bring the Claret Jug with you?

DARREN CLARKE:
  It's here, yes.

Q.  And will you be taking it on a tour of the bars in Hamilton?

DARREN CLARKE:
  No.  It will be at our function this evening.  And it may be out and about tomorrow evening after the tournament is over.  But mind you, after 77, I should probably stay out a little later than planned, because probably couldn't do any worse tomorrow, but we'll see.

Q.  Looked like you were having fun out there; did you still enjoy your experience in Bermuda?

DARREN CLARKE: 
Yeah, of course.  As I said, I didn't come all the way here to play that badly, having a bad day, what am I going to do, lose my temper and start throwing clubs?  I'm here as a major champion.  It's a wonderful event and I'm proud to be part of it.
The other guys are all playing well, and Keegan and Rory, especially, Charl, who was playing lovely and just sort of lost his way; maybe he was watching me a little bit too much and lost his way on the back nine there.  But it's good to be here this week.  So albeit I played pretty crap, it's a privilege to be here and I'm enjoying every minute of it.

JULIUS MASON:  Darren Clarke, we'll see you tomorrow morning.

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