The four young boys were laughing and larking about. Nothing unusual in that – they had done it plenty of times at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
But there was something different about this day, something special.
For starters more people were around than usual yesterday.
Bigwigs from Stormont, including Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, were in attendance.
Hundreds were standing outside the clubhouse, all of them, it seemed, with a smile on their face. The atmosphere was one of pure joy. As a refreshing wind blew around the links course, I swear you could reach out and touch the pride in the air.
The people gazed up to the balcony to see the four kids, all fair hair and full of fun.
They witnessed young Conor Clarke holding the Claret Jug, standing beside his cousins Callum and Chris and his older brother Tyrone, who was wearing eye- catching fluorescent John Daly trousers.
Moments before the new Open champion had held the trophy aloft to mighty roars from the happy gathering.
Darren Clarke enjoyed the generous ovation.
Earlier there had been cheers for Graeme McDowell.
Two major winners in one small corner of our world – you bet this was a special day.
G-Mac had given his big pal the warmest of hugs when the king of Royal St George's arrived at the course.
It was a touching embrace between these two Ulster sporting greats, who have brought the biggest golfing titles in the world back to Portrush. McDowell delivered the US Open to the nearby Rathmore club last year.
Now this was Clarke's major moment to give something back.
Make that his golden moment — because he was kind enough to hand over the gold medal for winning The Open to the Royal Portrush club.
It will take pride of place in a well-secured cabinet beside the gold medal presented to the late, great Fred Daly, after he won golf's most prestigious tournament way back in 1947.
The gesture drew applause from club officials, bar staff, the media, the ministers and the Clarke clan.
While the 42-year-old was the obvious centre of attention, signing autographs and shaking outstretched hands aplenty, there was a sense that this wasn't just Darren's day, it was a day for Darren's family.
As they have been throughout his life, good times and bad, they were there at his homecoming press conference to offer their support.
Like Graeme and Rory McIlroy when they won their majors, the big Dungannon man spoke about his appreciation of the sacrifices his parents Hetty and Godfrey made to get him to where he is today.
There was a modest smile from his sister Andrea when big brother paid tribute to her and hubby David for taking such good care of Conor and Tyrone when he is golfing around the world.
Stunning fiancee Alison Campbell glowed as her man chatted about their 'wonderful' relationship.
Then there were “his boys”.
Those big eyes lit up as Darren talked about them, revealing that Conor had already slept with the Claret Jug.
Always good for a yarn, there were loads of laughs as Clarke, looking a lot more refreshed than on Monday after catching up on some sleep, answered question after question, many of which he had heard several times before in the previous days.
He was in fine form.
After his media duties were fulfilled came a stroll to the clubhouse balcony with trophy in hand. Photographers, professional and amateur, snapped furiously. A walkabout —more of a scrum really — followed with well-wishers able to get close to their hero and that Jug.
Larry Dorman, golf writer from the New York Times, told me he found the afternoon an uplifting experience.
I've a feeling he will be back in Northern Ireland when one of our boys wins the US PGA next month.
In the meantime, the Royal Portrush club expect a flood of American tourists to arrive hoping some of Darren's magic rubs off.
A look at recent entries in the visitors book showed there's been quite a few from the States here already this month with addresses from Phoenix, Buffalo and Santa Barbara sitting neatly beside those with German, Canadian and UK postcodes. For golf fans around the world, Northern Ireland is THE place to be right now.
Those at Royal Portrush yesterday, one big happy family, would vouch for that.
So too would Darren Clarke, the daddy of them all.