| 14.6°C Belfast

A fair way to travel, but Alison finally reunites with Darren Clarke in US after coronavirus lockdown

Pandemic kept golfer and wife apart for months on opposite sides of Atlantic

Close

Darren and Alison Clarke are together again in Ohio

Darren and Alison Clarke are together again in Ohio

Darren and Alison Clarke are together again in Ohio

Golfer Darren Clarke and his wife Alison are finally able to be together for the first time since lockdown as she travelled to the United States to be at her husband's side during the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship.

The former Miss Northern Ireland and ACA Models founder hadn't been able to see her husband since March 9, after returning following a trip to California together.

She had hoped to reunite at Easter, but the UK went into lockdown.

Darren has spent the pandemic on the island of Great Abaco in the Bahamas, while Alison stayed at their Portrush home with youngest stepson Conor (19).

She flew from Dublin to Chicago on Saturday and then on to Akron in Ohio, where the couple, who married in 2012, were finally able to be together again.

He will compete in the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship this week as part of the PGA Tour at the Firestone Country Club in Akron.

Alison, who's had to cancel promotional events for the Belfast Marathon, Balmoral Show and Irish Open due to the coronavirus restrictions, told the Belfast Telegraph it was "fantastic" to finally see each other once again.

As per the PGA regulations, both the 2011 Open winner and his wife were tested for Covid-19 on Sunday.

"They test all their golfers, their caddies and spouses, so we had to get the Covid test on Sunday," she explained.

"That came back negative yesterday for the both of us, so that means we're both allowed into the course.

"Darren has gone to practise this morning and I'm just doing some ACA Models work from the hotel at the minute, and then he's coming back to meet me for lunch."

She admitted that it was a "bit scary" waiting on the results, and said that the PGA will carry out the tests on a weekly basis.

She plans to remain in the US until next month while Darren plays in five tournaments, before travelling back to Northern Ireland.

"All being well, I'll come back out again," Alison added.

"They are very careful over here. There are people wearing masks everywhere, and even when he met me at the airport he was wearing his mask and I was wearing my mask.

"The PGA are very careful and have a bubble. Only those who are tested negative are allowed into those places so as to protect everybody."

During lockdown the couple video-called each other two or three times a day to keep in touch.

It helped make the separation that bit more bearable.

"It's not the same but you still see the person and it's not as if you haven't seen them in five months," she added.

"I spoke to Darren two or three times a day, which was lovely.

"Even just for a catch-up, asking how are things and what he had for dinner.

"Just the usual wee things.

"He was continuously practising in Abaco.

"He is working hard and golfed and practised every day since lockdown started.

"So let's hope it all pays off this week."

The pair became engaged in December 2011 and married in April 2012 on the beach at Abaco.

They met after they were set up on a blind date by Darren's friend and fellow golfer Graeme McDowell in November 2009.

The couple have two children each from previous marriages.

Alison has Philip and Stuart, and Darren has Tyrone and Conor.

Darren's first wife Heather died of breast cancer aged 39 in 2006.

Belfast Telegraph