Clarke presents medal to his club
Published 19/07/2011 | 14:12
Golfer Darren Clarke has presented his winning Open Championship medal to Royal Portrush Golf Club.
He gave it to club captain Philip Tweedie at a special homecoming ceremony.
Almost 1,000 people crowded outside the clubhouse for Clarke's arrival at his home course where he practised before triumphing at Royal St George's in Kent on Sunday.
The medal will go on display in a cabinet which already holds the one won by Fred Daly, who took the Open at Royal Liverpool in 1947. He was also a member of Royal Portrush.
Clarke told members the medal would only have ended up in a drawer in his house if he had kept it.
"One of the perks for winning the Open is they give you a gold medal and for those of you who haven't been here before there's a couple of cabinets when you are coming up the stairs and in one of them is Fred Daly's gold medal from 1947 - I want this one to go beside it," he said.
Mr Tweedie said it was a mark of Clarke as a man to give away the prized possession. "To win something you probably wanted all your life and then to turn round and give this medal to this club I think it is just a fantastic gesture and on behalf of Royal Portrush I thank you," he said.
Clarke's two children Tyrone, 12, and Conor, 10, and his fiancee Alison Campbell were joined by the golfer's parents Godfrey and Hetty and his sister Andrea at the homecoming reception in the club's Dunluce Suite.
Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was among a range of political representatives who came to offer their congratulations to the star, and he made reference to the recent major successes of fellow Northern Irishmen Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.
"We are spoiled in the course of the last short while, but let's not underestimate the achievements of our golfers," said the Sinn Fein MP. We are at the very top of Everest in terms of world golf and the best golf courses in the world are here and the best golfers in the world are here."