Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Open winner Darren Clarke has admitted he is finding it hard to motivate himself following his victory at Royal St George's in July.
The 43-year-old, whose Open win was his maiden major title, is playing in this week's Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.
"I've done what I've always wanted - got to the top of the mountain," said Clarke. "What else can compare to it?
"Ask anybody who's achieved their lifetime goal, they'll probably tell you 'how do you keep going and going?'"
The Ulsterman added: "What else is there to do? I've managed to win the tournament I've wanted to win from when I first started playing golf, the biggest and best tournament in the world.
"My difficulty since has been assessing and fixing some goals
"What else is there to do? Yes, they (major championships) are all very important, but to me The Open is the oldest, the biggest, the best there is.
"I've no idea how people like [Olympic five-times gold medallist rower] Steve Redgrave do it, keep going for more."
Clarke's success in Sandwich two-and-a-half months ago, which saw him hold off the challenge of American duo Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to become the first UK winner since Paul Lawrie in 1999, came in his 20th appearance in the famous tournament.
Since winning the Open, Clarke has played in four events, with his best performance coming at the European Masters in Switzerland when he finished five under to tie for 35th. He has twice failed to make the cut, at the Irish Open and the US PGA Championship.
However, with a large haul of points available on offer this weekend in the event played with an amateur partner over three courses - St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns - Clarke sees this as an opportunity to achieve another of his goals: to play in a sixth Ryder Cup.
"We're playing for an awful lot of prize money this week, Ryder Cup points and world ranking points," he said. "I would dearly love to make the [Ryder Cup] team next year and I want to give myself every chance I can to do that."

By BILL SHAWA golfing dream has come true for a 14 year old student of St Leonard’s High School in St Andrews. Alasdair McDougall will join the likes of Darren Clarke, Colin Montgomerie, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood after being added to the draw as a late-entry amateur at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship which tees off tomorrow morning.
McDougall, who hails from Drumoig near St Andrews, is a promising young golfer who won the St Andrews Links Junior Golf Association (SALJGA) Order of Merit this year. He will tee off on the Old Course at 10.50am tomorrow in the same group as SALJGA honorary president Paul Lawrie and partnering Dutch professional Joost Luiten.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for me,” he said. “I love playing golf and the chance to play in the same event as some of my heroes is just unbelievable. The Dunhill is a great event and it doesn’t get any better than playing in a championship on The Old Course. It will be a little nerve-wracking but I am really looking forward to it.”
Alasdair was born in Carlisle but moved to Drumoig with his family six years ago. Attending school in St Andrews, Alasdair immediately joined SALJGA and quickly fell in love with the game. Two years ago his handicap was 13 but he is now playing off three.
Earlier this year he represented Scotland in the under-16 quadrangular internationals playing against Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy and Wales. Alasdair is also part of the national Scottish Golf Union squad coached by Steve North, Director of Instruction at St Andrews Links Golf Academy.
Alasdair’s father Duncan said, “He really took to golf after moving St Andrews and I don’t think there could have been a better place for him to learn the game. The coaching and facilities have been excellent for him. At the moment he is really enjoying his golf and playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship will be such a great experience.”



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