Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Golfing hero Darren Clarke's private grief

Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke holds the Claret Jug after winning the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich
Darren Clarke with Alison Campbell. 'Everything is fantastic at the moment,' he says

Any golfer would delight in winning the Open in front of an adoring crowd. But for Darren Clarke, his nail-biting victory at Royal St George's, his first win in a major, was a fitting end to an incredibly tough five years.

In 2006, the Northern Irish golfer's wife, Heather, died of breast cancer a few months before the Ryder Cup.

Clarke's bravery as he then helped the European team to victory at the K Club in Ireland won over fans and non-fans alike as he shed tears of joy – before downing a pint of Guinness in one to cheers from the crowd. Clarke, now 42, went on to rebuild his life with his two sons, Tyrone and Conor, getting engaged to his girlfriend Alison Campbell last December.

The pair were set up on a blind date by fellow Northern Irish golfer Graeme McDowell, and a few days ago he paid tribute to her for getting his career going again. "I've got a wonderful fiancée," he said.

"Alison is a great girl and instrumental in my getting my life back on track."

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