Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Steven Beacom: Darren Clarke must stop celebrating and concentrate on golf

Darren Clarke enjoyed his Open victory and the subsequent celebrations
Darren Clarke enjoyed his Open victory and the subsequent celebrations
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
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

When Darren Clarke won The Open in July, it was one of sport’s greatest triumphs ever. Not just by someone from our wee country, but by someone from any country.



It was a phenomenal achievement.

And a hugely popular one too.

Darren, you see, isn’t just a golfer or a sports star.

He’s a man we’ve all grown to care about.

And to see him win the tournament he wanted most on that wet and blustery day in Kent at Royal St Georges was a joy to behold.

In the past when in contention at major events, Darren had let his chance slip.

And as the years passed by with him getting older and young champions such as Rory McIlroy emerging, just about everyone thought that Darren’s opportunity to claim a big one had come and gone.

Thankfully Clarke saw things differently back in July, playing the golf of his life in appalling conditions to lift the Claret Jug.

While others struggled in the biting wind he soared to complete a fairytale that even Hans Christian Andersen couldn’t have imagined.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the clubhouse when he made his victory speech stating that someone was looking down on him in reference to his beloved late wife Heather, who had lost her brave battle with cancer five years earlier.

On the back of winning The Open, Darren enjoyed himself. Boy, did he enjoy himself. And why wouldn’t he?

He’d been waiting his whole sporting life for this and here in his 40s his dream had finally come true.

There was criticism in the week after his Open success that he was out on the lash too much and too publicly.

At the time I thought the begrudgers weren’t giving our national hero a break.

He was entitled to savour the moment. And if that meant having an extra cigar or two or several pints of Guinness, well good luck to him.

Four months later though the party still seems to be going on.

It’s as if the golf tournaments that Darren is competing in have become secondary to one long lap of honour.

That appeared to be the case in the north Atlantic holiday island of Bermuda this week where Darren was taking part in the Grand Slam of Golf with the three other 2011 major winners, one of which was compatriot and good friend Rory McIlroy.

The Grand Slam of Golf is like the Charity Shield in football — more important to be in it than win it — but I’m sure Darren would have liked to have put on a show for the watching spectators.

By the end of the 36 hole event he had finished 13 shots behind the eventual winner Keegan Bradley.

A poor couple of days can happen to anyone on a golf course, but there’s been a few too many of them lately.

How long before tournament sponsors and the paying public begin to feel short-changed?

After the Slam had finished Darren stated that he was looking forward to a bad hangover in the morning.

His legions of fans all over the world and here in Northern Ireland would prefer to see the 43-year-old back hitting more stunning shots on the fairways.

Dungannon’s finest, now residing in Portrush, still has plenty of good golf left in him.

There might even be another major in the locker. Putts have to come before parties though for that to happen. One major title is great. Two would be even better.

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