Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Darren Clarke starts 'World Tour' with Claret Jug in his suitcase

Open champion Darren Clarke acknowledged he was a bit bleary-eyed as he begins the first of four weeks of golf in Australia, South Africa, Dubai and Thailand.
Less than 24 hours after arriving from his home in ‘wet and windy’ Portrush, Northern Ireland, he sweated through nine holes of practice at the Hyatt Regency resort course, Coolum, venue for the Australian PGA Championship starting on Thursday.
Next up was a few hours for an afternoon catnap.
The global crisscrossing is a small price to pay for Clarke winning at Royal St. George’s in July, but just in case anyone had forgotten that, he has the claret jug with him.
Clarke said ‘people never get a chance to see it, so I do travel with it a bit.’



By Liam Daly, Sportal
If officials strike while the iron is hot, Australian lifestyle and attractions will keep the world's best players coming back, says golf legend Greg Norman.
Speaking ahead of his highly-anticipated return to the Australian PGA for the first time since 2004, Norman was highly optimistic that Australia's golden east coast summers were a big enough lure to keep players coming back.
The Australian PGA Championship at Coolum will this week host one of the strongest fields in years, with the likes of reigning Open champion Darren Clarke, big-hitting Bubba Watson and 2010 US PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Rickie Fowler in attendance to compete with the cream of the Australian crop.
"I would like to see the regeneration of top-class players. It's totally up to the tournament directors. They can do it, there's no question about it," said Norman.
"We've done it before and we can do it again. We have to take advantage of the atmosphere."
"The popularity of the game will always be high in Australia, so it's how we group everybody together."
The recently completed Presidents Cup has swung the attention of the golfing world Down Under at the tail-end of 2011, but Norman says players love the Australian culture regardless of vogue, and tournament officials could use that fact to compete against more lucrative alternates.
"You need to talk to the players and see what they like and what they didn't like. I've spoken to a lot of the American players and they all love Australia and they all say they'd come back here in a heartbeat and spend a week, or more."
"I went to China a year ago and I'd never been to the Great Wall or the Forbidden City, so I just peeled off four days to do it. I want to play but I want time to do this as well."
"I said to myself, I must have been the dumbest guy in the world for 30 years for not taking in the cultures of all the countries I've visited."
"The younger players I've spoken to all love this country of Australia. They've loved it.
"If the tournament directors approached it correctly, immediately, and didn't wait four or five months, immediately, knowing where the dates are next year, and said 'Guys, if you want to come back next year, we'll do this, we'll give you this...You've got to entice them somehow."
"They all make so much money that it's not necessarily the money thing, it's the enjoyment they have of showing their significant other half, or their mother or brother, a different world."
Norman's view was echoed by ultra-likeable Northern Ireland star Darren Clarke, who said that there was always a positive buzz about playing in Australia amongst the International players.
Clarke said the picturesque courses and lush resort-style living had been great incentive to take the opportunity to play.
"I haven't been down here for a few years, and I've always been quite friendly with the Aussie guys on tour... so I thought I'd come down and play," said Clarke.
"Ian Baker Finch had told me how good this place was and how relaxed the tournament was. I enjoy playing down here; I enjoy playing your golf courses."
"The Aussies like to enjoy themselves very much the same way (as the Irish)."



Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google