I don't know care, when I'm playing well. If I get myself up there in big tournaments, I usually carry on, he says. It doesn't particularly bother me what tournaments they are. It just so happens that a couple of times that I've played well over here have been in the World Golf Championship events.
The WGC-AmEx field is in Atlanta this week. The field is comprised of the top 50 players on the world rankings, plus the six leaders from the various world tours. Altogether, about 70 will start the tournament when the other qualifications are thrown in.
Woods has won the tournament two of the three times it has been held. Clarke has won the WGC match play event once and also captured the most recent event ' the WGC-NEC.
The Irishman has but one goal this week ' to play well, he said. To attempt to continue to play well. And I am very happy with things.
Clarke has won just shy of $600,000 on the U.S. tour this year ' money from the WGC events doesnt count. Those two events have added $1,250,000 to his bank account. He has played the four majors, the Players Championship, two WGC events, and has accepted five sponsors exemptions. His earnings of $599,711 would place him 90th on the money list at the moment, but he doesnt hold official membership.
That is about to change next year. His win at the WGC-NEC guarantees him three years on the tour, if he decides to take it. He says he definitely will.
I think I'm probably going to play about 16 next year, something like that, said Clarke. The American Express will be my 13th.
So it's not really going to be a whole lot different. I'm going to take up my membership; I get into Kapalua, the Mercedes is the first one, and then the Sony is the week after and I'm going to try to play a very similar schedule to what I've done this year.
Why does he want to play here? Well, he began in Boston a couple of weeks ago at the Deutsche Bank event, I think there's more Irish in Boston than anywhere else. There's going to be a good a chance of getting Guinness in this area as anywhere else, so that had a lot to do with it.
Clarke was kidding, of course ' wasnt he? After all, everyone knows that Guinness tastes better in his native Ireland where its brewed, than it does when it has to travel overseas to America.
I don't particularly care how it tastes, as long as it's black and it's all right, he said to a room full of laughter.
This week, though, he will be playing the WGC, the American Express Championship in Atlanta. Its a big tournament, so that means he will be up for it.
Those are the ones that, if you ask the majority of the field which tournaments they would like to win after the majors, I think youve got the four majors at then the TPC at Sawgrass, he said. After that, I think the majority of the guys would probably say the World Golf Championships.
Ive been very fortunate to have two of them. As for why, I dont know.
Woods, the defending champion, is the most successful player in World Golf Championships history. His victory earlier this year at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship made him the only player to win all four World Golf Championship events in his career.
Woods has won seven of the 14 World Golf Championships events that he has competed in, collecting $7,993,333 along the way. In his three appearances at American Express Championships, he has two victories and a tie for fifth.
Ernie Els currently ranks No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking after starting off 2003 by winning the first two events on the PGA Tour schedule. Joining him from South Africa are Reteif Goosen (No. 12 on the Official World Golf Ranking), Tim Clark and Hennie Otto.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington has committed along with Masters Champion Canadian Mike Weir.
A mixture of talented young players and experienced PGA Tour veterans has qualified from Australia. Among those are Stephen Leaney, Peter Lonard and Craig Parry, who won the 2002 World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational.
Other international players who have committed include Swedens Fredrik Jacobson, Englands Justin Rose and Paul Casey. Koreas K.J. Choi, Indias Jyoti Randihawa and Arjun Atwat and Thailands Thongchi Jaidee are all signed up to play, as well.