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Golf Australia Express : Issue 4
The million-dollar victory in 2000 contributed to Clarke’s best year financially on tour, winning €2.7 million ($3.8 million) by year’s end. He then went on to spend 43 weeks inside the World Top 10 rankings from 2000- 02. Heading into the most recent British Open, Clarke had amassed 22 professional wins, including the Iberdola Open in Spain back in May. He‘s also been a member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team on five occasions. No one can doubt the guy can really play. Second, the Open win marked a romantic finale for a crowd (and player) favourite at the most romantic of golf majors. That favouritism for Clarke came after the death of his wife, Heather from cancer in 2006. Following he death, Clarke’s form slumped and he and plummeted out of the top 100. Among dealing with the loss of Heather, Clarke was left to look after his two young boys. The grace and humility with which he conducted himself through an obviously traumatic time made him endearing for golf fans worldwide. We felt for him. And we started to barrack for him. That barracking was no more evident than with every swing, putt and saved par in the final round at St George’s. The ‘might-as- well-be’ local lad thanked the crowd in his victory speech for its support, “IN TERMS OF WHAT’S GOING THROUGH MY HEART, THERE’S OBVIOUSLY SOMEBODY WHO IS WATCHING FROM UP ABOVE THERE, AND I KNOW SHE’D BE VERY PROUD OF ME.” ALWAYS A CHARACTER, CLARKE TALKS TO PGATOUR.COM ABOUT WHAT MAKES HIM TICK. AT LEAST WE KNOW HE’S AN EASY MAN TO COOK FOR. among others: “In terms of what’s going through my heart, there’s obviously somebody who is watching from up above there, and I know she’d be very proud of me,” he said, referring to Heather as the crowd roared. “But I think she’d be more proud of my two boys and them at home watching more than anything else. It’s been a long journey to get here”. It’s easy to see why Clarke is one of the most popular golfers out there. It starts and ends with having some character and humility—he has them both in spades. Not shy to have a drink or cigar in view of the public, it’s clear the Northern Irishman believes in living in the now. He’s always smiling or laughing with playing partners, and often with crowds, too. He’s a great advocate for golf; a man who embraces life and fun on course with a genuine dose of perspective. We raise our glasses to you Mr Clarke. And of course, they’re filled with the black stuff. OTG CLICK HERE TO SEE DARREN CLARKE’S CAREER STATS EUROPE’S 2006 RYDER CUP WIN WAS FULL OF MIXED EMOTIONS FOR CLARKE, WHO LOST HIS WIFE TO CANCER JUST SIX WEEKS EARLIER.