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Darren Clarke to play more in USA

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke has admitted that he is tempted to play on the US PGA Tour more this year because it is of a higher standard.

The world number 11 has proved his ability to play throughout the world - he beat Tiger Woods to win the Andersen Consulting World MatchPlay last year - but Clarke is convinced that playing more tournaments in the States will improve his game.

"The standard there is a bit higher than on the European Tour, and that would obviously be beneficial for my game," Clarke said on the eve of the first round of the South African Open at the East London Golf Club.

"I'll probably give it a go this year. If you don't try it, you don't know how good you are. The PGA Tour is where the world's best golfers are playing.

Darren Clarke in action at the English Open. Allsport.

"It's a chance to compete against the best. It's not about the money. It's about competing against the best and trying to win tournaments," Clarke said.

One aspect that the Ulsterman, who finished runner-up to Lee Westwood in Europe's Order of Merit last year, will not be adopting is the strict diet regime that many Americans adhere to.

"Fitness and weight seems to be an issue in the game right now, but I'm quite happy the way I am. I lost a little bit towards the end of last year, but I'm happy enough on the golf course."

Clarke says his main aim for the new year is to improve on his short game and be more relaxed on the golf course.

"My putting was average last year, and I wasted too many shots around the greens. As a result, I didn't win as much as I would've liked. I want to win more tournaments this year.

"I was also trying too hard last year. This year, I'd like to be more relaxed on the golf course," he said.

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