Nobody is going to forget the 2011 majors in a hurry – right from Rory McIlroy starting The Masters in April with a 65 through to Jason Dufner losing a five-shot lead on the final four holes of the USPGA on Sunday, 14th of August. Of all the major wins this year however, it is Darren Clarke’s triumph that lies closest to our hearts here at Castle Dargan and quite possibly, to the majority of beating hearts in Ireland.
Why? Well, many will point to his laizzez faire character on the golf course. Other’s may highlight his ‘laid back’ personality off it. Women will say it’s all in the smile, while the man on the high stool will say “shur doesn’t he enjoy a good pint of the black stuff”. Although he did recently admit to lighting “the candle a little bit too much”, for me, the reason why Darren (now the odds on favourite for BBC’s personality of the Year) is so popular is because he resembles a ‘normal’, every day joe bloggs and Irish people love that.
First and foremost, we have never admired perfection because we all know ‘The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection’. Darren was once quoted, “I never started out thinking that I wanted to be No. 1. I started out because I enjoyed the game and I was reasonably good at it. I wanted to be a professional golfer who traveled the world trying to win tournaments. And I think I’ve done OK at that”.
Yes you have, Darren. And I think it’s unfair that he has come under some criticism lately following his poor showing at the PGA. Like every human being, he needs a break at times.”I won’t pick up the clubs for 10 days,” Clarke said. “I won’t even look at them for 10 days. So I’m just mentally tired.” He won the Open championship and celebrated his victory and now he is tired. So what!
“Going out fly fishing today for salmon and sea trout…bit bright and no wind! #toughtocatch”
August 17, 2011 via Twitter for BlackBerry®
And because none of us are perfect, we aren’t always in control of our frustrations. Karl Morris, a sports psychologist said “When Darren gets frustrated, it builds and builds. You can’t take out your frustrations on the game. Darren is more talented but Padraig (Harrington) is much better at dealing with things when they go wrong. Darren, unfortunately, has relied too much on the ball controlling him. When he’s striking the ball beautifully, he’s fine. But when he isn’t, he finds it difficult to control himself.”
And, although sometimes frustrated, he never forgets his manners and ethos of fair play. Rudeness is Darren’s number one hate. “’Please’ and ‘thank you’ are two of the easiest things in the world to say. I try to instil that in my two boys.” He recently told journalists, “I would stress the importance of sportsmanship. It’s a game. It’s not life or death. I hate gamesmanship. My philosophy is simple: play hard, try to win, then have a drink with your opponent afterward. That’s what golf – and life – is all about.”
But don’t be fooled by his cuddly bear type aura, Clarke will ‘stand up and fight‘ when needed. “There are a few who have crossed the line and if I think it’s unjustified, I’ve let them know,” he told Golf Magazine. “We golfers get rewarded for playing well and we get a lot of good press. But we also get a lot of bad press. That’s fine; it’s part of the job. If I’ve played like a dick, I deserve to get slagged off. But when a few of them get personal and say things that are factually incorrect and have a go at me for no reason, then I take exception. I’m pretty fair. We’ve all got jobs to do. But there’s a line.”
He designed our golf course and is an honourary member of our club. In those terms he is and always will be our hero here at Castle Dargan but we are also extremely proud of him for the values and principles he holds. We look forward to seeing him back here in Castle Dargan in the future and wish him all the best.