Posted by: John K. Abendroth, PGA
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 10:54 AM
Major golf championships have earned the statue over the years in many ways that would include history, iconic sites, and legendary champions but the 140th playing of the British Open had that and much more with the corning of Darren Clarke as The Champion Golfer of the Year.
In an era of the young athletic golfer with the perfect swing, Clarke rose to the top relying on instinct being reminded by his agent Chubby Chandler that he player better when fat.
The win by Clarke seems like a movie, but the script has son many twists and turns you would have to trim it down to make it work. He smokes and drinks, his lost his wife to cancer, quit playing and at 42 years old is engaged to a former Miss Northern Ireland. In his award ceremony he said the prize money would help him buy more John Daly Loudmouth pants for his kids.
In his 20th attempt at The Open and ranked outside the top 100, Clarke would be posted at odds of 200-1 to win and I'd bet Darren made a bet at those odds. He was approached to work for ESPN, typically a move saying this player has little chance. His agent Chubby made a bet with Dunlop clothing that would reward Clarke with 1.4 Million Euro's on the win. Wow, couple that with the million plus in prize money Clarke has quickly become an over-night success 20 plus years later.
Another part of the plot is the success of players from Ireland the past few years with Padriag Harrington winning the British Open in 2007 and 2008 and the PGA Championship in 2008, but what about the other Northern Ireland natives Graeme McDowell wining the 2010 U.S. Open and then the thrilling win by 22 year old Rory McIlroy winning the 2011 U.S. Open.
In San Francisco for the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club the city will be electric with all of the Irish residents, and the dominant Irish players with their trophies in tow, wow…can't wait.
Darren Clarke had become the unsung victim of bad luck is now the matinee idol. He's everyman who has become humble over the years and I'd put the odds at 2-1 that he does not change much, but it will be fun to see more of him the next few years.
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