Darren Clarke

Country: Northern Ireland
Date of birth: 14/08/1968

Darren Clarke is one of the world’s most recognisable golfers and has won many fans across the globe over three decades at the top of his spot.

Winner of The Open Championship in 2011, Darren also captained the European Ryder Cup team against the United States in 2016 and continues to impress into his sixth decade, with back-to-back victories on the PGA Champions Tour.

A stalwart of the European Tour since 1991, the Ulsterman is no stranger to firsts.

At the 1999 Smurfit European Open, he became the first player on the European Tour to shoot 60 for a second time, having achieved it first in the 1992 European Monte Carlo Open.

In 2002, he became the first player to win the English Open three times and in 2003 the first player outside Tiger Woods to capture more than one World Golf Championship title.

Three weeks after the untimely death of wife Heather, who finally lost her brave battle against cancer in August 2006, Darren was picked as one of the wild cards for the Ryder Cup at K Club and, in an emotionally-charged week, produced one of his most memorable performances, winning all three of his matches.

A dedicated worker for charity, he set up his own Darren Clarke Foundation, which not only helps further the development of junior golf in Ireland but also now raises money for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Darren has assured his place in history by earning a place in the renowned ‘Who’s Who’ guide for 2008. He even appeared on an Irish postage stamp in 2005.

The year 2008 was a great one for Darren, with wins in the BMW Asian Open in China and the KLM Open in the Netherlands, where his sons Tyrone and Conor were there to witness Dad’s victory.

In 2010, he beat a world-class field in the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am at Adare Manor in Ireland, securing a one-shot victory over Luke Donald. He clenched his spot in the 139th Open Championship at St. Andrew’s by finishing second in the Barclays Scottish Open.

Darren started 2011 with a victory in the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca, but he enjoyed his finest hour in July when he claimed his maiden major championship.

The Northern Irishman won the 140th Open Championship at Royal St George’s in Kent by three shots from Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.

He received a host of personal accolades after the victory in Sandwich. In October, he was honoured in his hometown, becoming became the first person ever to receive the Freedom of Dungannon, before being made an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the New Years Honours List.

Darren also received fantastic recognition elsewhere; being voted the Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year and finishing as runner-up in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

In February 2012, he won the Comeback of the Year award at the Laureus World Sports Awards which took place at the Central Hall in Westminster, London.

In October 2012, Darren released his autobiography, An Open Book, which subsequently received two nominations at the 2013 British Sports Book Awards.

The month after the release of his memoirs, Clarke received his OBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, having previously been named in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.

In February 2015, Darren was appointed as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain for the following year. Europe was beaten 17-11 in Hazeltine.

In July 2019, Darren had the honour of hitting the first tee shot as The Open Championship at his home course of Royal Portrush as the tournament returned to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.

Darren graduated full-time to the PGA Champions Tour, finishing 41st on the Charles Schwab Cup money list in a year that saw him share second at the Cologuard Classic and finish in a share of 10th at the Senior Open at Royal Lytham.

In 2020, Darren won the Timbertech Championship, his maiden victory on the PGA Tour Champions. Darren followed up this win by winning the first tournament of the 2021 season, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii.

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