Darren Clarke is one of the most recognisable faces on the golf course, and at 50, a veteran of the sport.
A familiar face at Royal Portrush, Clarke was a driving force, alongside McIlroy and McDowell, in brings this years 148th Open Championship to Royal Portrush, 68 years since it was last hosted by the club.
Speaking today (Monday) about this years Open in Portrush, Darren spoke to the press with pride at it being hosted for the first time in 68 years at Royal Portrush, saying,
“I’ll just be very proud that we have it back here in Northern Ireland. I think The Open Championship is going to start, and I think the other guys would say the same sort of thing. It goes without saying, it’s a huge thing to have it back here in Northern Ireland again.
“It’s going to be an amazing tournament. If you see how many people were in here yesterday watching and again today and all the practice tickets are all sold out. The atmosphere is going to be sensational.”
Asked more about his influence in bringing the Open to Portrush, a modest Clarke was full of praise for not just himself, Rory and Graeme but also the influence Padraig Harrington had after his major wins.
“Well, it was us, but I think it was Padraig started it before that, when he won all his majors. Then whenever we came along behind him again.
We had a little bit to do with it, but there were more important people than ourselves. And to highlight the golf course. He obviously knew the golf course.”
So who do you think Darren would pick as this years winner if it wasn’t himself? Well the usually straight talking golfer had trouble deciding on just one.
Obviously I’d take Rory, wouldn’t I? Who else would I say? I think I’ve played quite a bit with Adam Scott the past couple days. And he has been — what’s the best word — imperious is the best word to describe him. He’s been very, very impressive. Adam has a very good ball flight. That’s why he played well in Open championships before. Adam has been very impressive.
Rosie was, as well. The standard of guys up here, the top players in the world are all very good. And it’s who gets the most comfortable with the golf course are the ones that are going to be the most successful. That’s the easy way to say it.
Certainly Adam impressed me hugely last week when we played together.”
Clarke will be the first to Tee off on Thursday morning, a privilege that was only very recently asked of him.