Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Clarke rescued with PGA invitation

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke has been handed a major championship lifeline in the shape of a late invitation into next week's US PGA Championship at Hazeltine in Minnesota.

Like Robinson Crusoe being rescued from his splendid isolation, the Dungannon man was suitably delighted to receive the ‘fantastic news’ as he prepared for this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone.

Being rescued from a desert island might seem like good news to most people, but Padraig Harrington confessed yesterday that he would happily maroon himself for two years, if it guaranteed an upswing in his game.

“If somebody told me I had to go to a desert island for the next two years and it would improve my game, the hard part about that would be telling my wife, because that is what I would do,” said Harrington.

“That's always been my make-up. If I thought that was the way to improve my game, that's what I would be doing. And the hard part for my wife would be telling the kids that we're moving.

“I'm just saying if that was what was required, that's what I would do to improve. That's my nature. I want to get better. I've always felt if you try and stay still at this game, you're going to go backwards.”

When Harrington heaved the 44lb Wannamaker Trophy aloft at Oakland Hills nearly 12 months ago, the weight of expectation on his own shoulders also appeared to increase and he has now spent eight months working to improve his ball-striking.

Meanwhile Ireland got their defence of the Boys Home International Championship off to a flying start at a damp and miserable Hankley Common, Surrey yesterday.

But the Irish girls hopes of adding the home international crown to the European title won in Finland last month were dealt a blow as Scotland edged to a 5-4 victory at Fairhaven on the Lancashire coast.

The boys overcame Scotland 9-6 after grabbing the initiative in the foursomes and are now in a strong position to retain the R&A Trophy. Co Sligo's Michael Durcan, Ian O'Rourke from Cork and Malone's Garth McGee won both their matches while Greystones' Paul Dunne produced a magnificent singles performance to help Ireland triumph.

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