The party is over for Darren

 AFTER opting out of the BMW International Open to celebrate Rory McIlroy’s US Open success, Darren Clarke returns to action today in the French Open at Le Golf National outside Paris.
Clarke, a winner this season at the Iberdrola Open in Majorca, missed out on Graeme McDowell’s celebrations back in 2010 and was determined not to make the same mistake twice.
“It was a pleasant unexpected week off but it was all for a good reason,” said Darren.
“We had a bit of a party, caught up and spent a bit of time together.
“I really wanted to be there. I’ve known Rory since he was very, very young through my foundation and everything and I just wanted to be at home.”
Rory was due to play in France but opted out following his exertions at Congressional. After a whirlwind round of interviews and commercial engagements, he will begin his pre-Open Championship build up at home this week alongside coach, Michael Bannon.
In contrast, Darren’s build-up will take in the French Open and next week’s Scottish Open at Castle Stuart before heading to Royal St George’s.
“They are three massive big tournaments on the European schedule right now and I’m really looking forward to it,” added Clarke who sympathised with Rory’s decision to give Le Golf National a miss.
“After the win and the manner in which he has done it, it’s understandable that he wants to rest and get himself ready for the Open.
“In terms of this week it’s a fantastic field on a brilliant golf course.
“Any mistakes are highlighted here because there’s that much water and danger involved. You have to play very, very well this week to have a chance.”
Darren will be joined in the field this week by strong Irish presence with Shane Lowry, Michael Hoey, Peter Lawrie, Gareth Maybin, Damien McGrane, and Paul McGinley all competing.

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