Darren's triumph gives us all hope
Published 20/07/2011 | 08:00
You couldn't make it up. Not only have the fortunes of Northern Ireland golf - and by extension the reputation of the whole country - skyrocketed over the past 15 months, but the final chapter happens to be the most sensational of all.
Following Graeme McDowell's and Rory McIlroy's victories at the US Open, Darren Clarke's amazing triumph at Royal St George's was its own fairytale.
There's no need to tell anyone here about the dramatic and heartbreaking circumstances of Clarke's life and career in recent years. Those were particularly harrowing times.
What makes his win so compelling is that it was achieved after so many setbacks and at an age when most sportsmen are thinking of a career in the commentary box.
Instead, Clarke not only has brought home the big one against all odds but has struck a blow on behalf of all those well-upholstered middle-aged blokes who like a pint or three.
The sort of guys who always think their glory days - which weren't all that glorious anyway - might still be within reach. One last push, one last lap, one last length, one last hurrah.
Of course, they don't all have a former Miss Northern Ireland in tow. Gorgeous, spirited and brimming with positivity, it's obvious that she has brought joy and contentment to his life.
Darren has fulfilled all the promise of those years of struggle. Let's all raise a Claret Jug to Darren ... if we can find one, that is.