Ryder Cup experience gave Clarke Open edge


DARREN Clarke, Open champion, believes the emotional rollercoaster he experienced playing at the Ryder Cup in 2006 helped him handle the pressure as he came down the stretch at Royal St George’s on Sunday.
The image of Clarke, arm in the air, tears rolling down his face will forever be etched into the memory of Ireland’s golfing fans as he played his part in Europe’s win over America at the K-Club.
The Dungannon man was playing just weeks after losing his wife Heather to cancer, yet he still managed to win three points out of three.
“The hardest thing I will ever have to face on a golf course was the first tee at the K Club in 2006,” he said.

“Anything else that I ever try to do will always pale into insignificance to that day.

“Maybe that is why I coped so well over the weekend. The intensity of that particular Friday at the Ryder Cup was beyond anything I have ever experienced again.”
Clarke’s next competitive outing will be at The Irish Open in Killarney.
The 42-year-old is already looking forward to the next stage of his career and in particular, being announced onto the first tee as the Open Champion.
“I’ll have to reassess my goals now. My burning desire throughout my career was to win this trophy,” he said pointing to the Claret Jug.
“I would like to win more majors and if I do achieve that it will be fantastic. I still feel I have a bit of game in me yet.
“Killarney was a wonderful event last year and the pictures going around the world were fantastic for Irish golf.
“Last year I played O.K but I didn’t score as well as I would have liked.
“It will be nice to see my peers, the guys that I play with and against week in and week out.
“It’s a special sort of thing when you get praise from your peers. It’s a little bit different.
“They know what it is like to try and compete on the world stage and it’s pretty tough.”

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