The cheers of support and encouragement could be heard in Dublin, as Darren Clarke strode onto the first tee at The K Club in 2006. The 36th Ryder Cup in Ireland was arguably Clarke’s Ryder Cup.
Having tragically lost his wife to cancer only six weeks earlier, Ian Woosnam selected Clarke as one of his wild cards and the rest is history. Clarke did not let him down, winning all three of his matches as Europe went on to convincingly beat the USA.
A larger than life, fun-loving character, Clarke famously downed a pint of Guinness in front of an adoring home crowd. A winner of 22 tournaments worldwide, his defining moment as an individual player came at Royal St George’s when he held off Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to win The Open by three shots. A 4&3 WGC-Matchplay Championship win over Tiger Woods in 2000 certainly rates highly in his extensive list of achievements, which have also included three English Opens and a further World Golf Championships title.
The 148th Open was held at Royal Portrush. Home to Clarke, he had the honour of hitting the first tee shot. It was the first time The Open had been played in Northern Ireland since 1951 and to have been won by a fellow Irishman, Shane Lowry, was even more special.
Clarke is a lover of the finer things in life. Fine wine, cigars and cars are on the list of favourites. When asked what to expect from Clarke’s Ryder Cup captaincy in 2016, Rory McIlroy, famously replied, “we’ll be well dressed”.
The Darren Clarke Foundation supports junior golf in Ireland, aswell as cancer charities. The popular Clarke is also enjoying his time on the PGA Tour Champions, where he won his first over-50s title at the TimberTech Championship in 2020, aswell as being involved in numerous golf course design projects. With Clarke around, there is no shortage of smiles and laughter.
|Ryder Cup Captain||2016|
|European Tour Wins||11|
|World Golf Championships||2|
|Highest World Ranking||8|