Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Darren Clarke toasts life as a Major winner - with another pint

Nothing is going to change, says fun-loving Open champ

British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
US Open Champions Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell with Open Championship winner Darren Clarke pictured in Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
British Open Championship winner Darren Clarke returns to his adopted hometown club, Royal Portrush
Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland holds the Claret Jug aloft following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland lifts the Claret Jug aloft following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: General View of the final leaderboard at the end of the final round following Darren Clarke's victory in The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler holds the Claret Jug following Darren Clarke's victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: A banner is towed behind a light aircraft congratulating Darren Clarke on his victory during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland celebrates victory on the 18th green during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland toasts his victory with a pint of Guinness at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland toasts his victory with a pint of Guinness at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler embraces Darren Clarke's girlfriend Alison Campbell at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler embraces Darren Clarke's girlfriend Alison Campbell at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland holds the Claret Jug following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland embraces his caddy John Mulrooney on the 18th green following his victory during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Darren Clarke
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke looks over at the Claret Jug during a press conference after the 2011 Open Championship
Darren Clarke holds the Claret Jug after winning the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich
Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke celebrates after making a birdie on the 12th during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich
Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland waits with caddy John Mulrooney and Lucas Glover (R) of the United States during the third round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 16, 2011 in Sandwich, England
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke tees off during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich
Darren Clarke during the third round during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke stretches before teeing off during round three of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich
Lori Moore, Darren Clarke and Alison Campbell at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
The Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Sarah Moore, Ruth Gorman and Charlene McLean
Jessica McCrea, Emma Hughes, Jennifer Carson, Gemma Boyle, Lori Moore and Sasha Gale at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Carla Nugent and Martina McElhatten at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Eve Bannon, Danielle Hibbert and Sean Loughran at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Irene Leahey, Denise Robinson and Mary Martin at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Joanne Smith, Joe Braden and Grainne McGarvey at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Eddie Corcan, John Shannon and Stephen Ramsay at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Christine Murphy, Peter Gilroy and Finola Guinnane at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Sibonguile Mude, Charlotte Sythes and Danielle Wong at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Sarah and Stephanie McQuillan at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Sara McDowell and Tara McLaughlin at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Sophie Calderwood, Grace Kerr and Fiona Kerr at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Jonathan Taylor, Hannah Campbell, Holly Lyons and Carly Campbell at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Jenny Monroe and Sarah Toland at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Male Model of the Year Rob Rea, Newcomer of the Year Fionola Guinnane, Promotional Model of ythe Year Jacqueline Gracey and Model of the Year Ciara McStravick at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Valerie Kirkpatrick, Louise Roe, Alison Campbell and Joleen McKee at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Model of the Year Ciara McStravick with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Joleen McKee, Alison Campbell and Louise Roe at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Male Model of the Year Rob Rea with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Joleen McKee, Alison Campbell and Louise Roe at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Promotional Model of the Year Jacqueline Gracey with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Alison Campbell and Joleen McKee at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Newcomer of the Year Fionola Guinnane with Valerie Kirkpatrick, Alison Campbell and Joleen McKee at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Peter Gilroy at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Sarah Moore, Ruth Forman and Charlene McLean at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Alison Campbell and friends at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Stephanie McGall, Ashleigh Moore and Naomi Sheard at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Judith McAteer, Michael Good and Sophie Harrison at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Emma Murphy, Anna Hansan, Sophie Harrison and Judith McAteer at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Michael Good, Andrew Bree and Kyle Anderson at the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / PressEye.com
Alison Campbell at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards
Darren Clarke with Alison Campbell. 'Everything is fantastic at the moment,' he says

Open champion Darren Clarke has promised that his Major triumph will not change him - vowing to continue the flamboyant lifestyle of hard drinking and high living, which has endeared him to golf fans everywhere.

Nearly 1,000 people crowded outside Clarke's adopted hometown club of Royal Portrush, as Northern Ireland's newest sporting hero returned home to a rapturous welcome.

The Dungannon-born star became only the second Northern Ireland golfer to lift the sport's greatest prize, when he won the 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's at the weekend.

Less than 48 hours after holing the winning putt, Clarke was back at Royal Portrush to present his coveted winner's medal to the club, where it will go on display next to Fred Daly's 1947 accolade.

And while he has followed the trail blazed by more recent Major champions Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, Clarke insisted he was not about to follow their health-conscious regimes.

"The other two don't partake in as much Guinness as I do," he grinned.

Asked would his Open victory change anything, Clarke replied: "Absolutely not, no. Nothing will change at all."

Two years ago, Clarke reportedly marked his 40th birthday by sinking 40 pints of Guinness, while he puffed away on a cigarette as he completed his final round on Sunday.

It is that fun-loving lifestyle which Clarke believes has made him such a popular winner.

"I like a pint and a smoke and I do all the things I shouldn't do compared to the rest of the athletes out there," he added.

"I'm a little bit different, a little bit older, allegedly wiser, and I tend to try and have as much fun as I can.

"I think people can identify with that."

Clarke said he had been moved to tears by the hundreds of texts and messages of support which have poured in since the weekend victory.

"There is a lot of support coming from many different people and a lot of them brought tears to my eyes," he added. It is fantastic to know it meant that much to so many people."

But he vowed not to be distracted by the hysteria - and admitted there are plenty of people waiting to bring him back down to earth.

"If I was to get any way above my station, I have a few good friends who would give me a clip around the ear and tell me to settle down a little, so there is no chance of me getting carried away," he joked.

Clarke also spoke of his hope that Northern Ireland's hat-trick of Major triumphs can change people's perception of the region - despite the violence which marred McIlroy's homecoming last month.

"After Rory came back home, unfortunately there was rioting on the streets of Belfast," he added.

"Maybe people in the past had a very one-sided view of what happens in Northern Ireland, but 99.9% of the people you'll meet here will be genuine, honest, friendly people and that's what we're like."

At 42, many thought Clarke's best days were behind him. But after rolling back the years at The Open, he remains hopeful of capturing another Major.

"My goal and burning desire throughout all my career was to win this trophy, and I've managed to do that," he said.

"Now I need to sit down at some stage later this week and try and figure out a couple of new goals.

"If I can, more Majors is obviously what I would like to do, and if I do achieve that, fantastic.

"But if I don't, my name will always be on this."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz