Clarke: 'I had a couple of really good texts from Tiger ... his advice was brilliant'

So much for Tiger Woods not playing any part in this Open Championship. Darren Clarke last night revealed how the former world No 1's text-messaged advice helped him to win his first major.



"I had a couple of really good messages from Tiger," said Clarke. "He was giving me a couple of bits of advice, which was brilliant. It made it easier than what it otherwise might have been." Woods was absent with knee and Achilles injuries, but watched from his Florida home as his long-time friend became the oldest player to win his first major since 1967.

Rory McIlroy also sent a text message to Clarke. It was exactly the same as the one Clarke texted to McIlroy before his US Open victory last month: "Go out there and show them how good you are." After finishing in a tie for 25th, McIlroy exclaimed: "Northern Ireland is now golf capital of the world!"

Later, Clarke paid an emotional tribute to the wife he lost to cancer five years ago: "There's obviously somebody who is watching down from up above and I know she'd be very proud of me. She'd probably be saying, 'I told you so'. But I think she'd be more proud of my two boys at home more than anything else."

Heather Clarke, the mother of Clarke's two sons, passed away after a long battle with cancer five years ago. "This is for the kids [Tyrone and Conor]," said Clarke. "They played golf at Royal Portrush this morning and were watching on TV."

Having been ranked way down in 111th, Clarke is not only up to 30th in the rankings but has also guaranteed himself spots in all four majors for at least the next five years. He heads to Atlanta for next month's USPGA not trying for his own double but also for a four-timer coined the "Chubby Slam".

Clarke is the third member of the International Sports Management (ISM) stable to win a major this year, following the victories of Charl Schwartzel and McIlroy in the Masters and US Open respectively.

"I haven't seen Darren like that since the Match Play in Costa in 2000 when he beat Tiger in the final," said Chubby Chandler the ISM supremo, who has managed Clarke for 21 years. "Darren has had a lot of shots at it and you think time might be running out – but then it all happens."

Clarke is determined to ensure it doesn't end here. "My ambitions are to win another couple of these things," he said, pointing at the Claret Jug. "What else can I do? Can I retire and say that's it? I can't. I don't want to rest on this. I want to keep on going, keep on working, because my golf was obviously very good this week. I still feel I can compete with the best in the world."

Certainly he won't be 200-1 again any time soon, as he was coming into this championship. This was the 54th major of Clarke's career and he had not enjoyed a top 10 finish in any of them for a decade. "It's pretty amazing," he said. "It's been a dream since I've been a kid to win the Open, and it feels incredible, incredible. It's been a long journey to get here. I'm 42 and I'm not getting any younger."

Where there's winners, inevitably, there are losers. This is an all too familiar role for Dustin Johnson, who was playing his third final group in the last six majors. This time his challenge was wrecked by a shank on out of bounds on the 14th. "That double bogey really took the momentum out of me," said the 27-year-old. "If I had to do it over again I wouldn't hit the two-iron there. I was trying to hit a low little draw. I probably should have hit three wood."

Clarke's life and times

* 1968 Born 14 August, Dungannon

* 1989 First amateur victory in the East of Ireland Championship.

* 1990 Turns professional.

* 1993 Beats Nick Faldo and Vijay Singh by two shots to win Alfred Dunhill for first European Tour win

* 1997 Ties second at Open at Troon, three shots behind Justin Leonard. Part of European Ryder Cup-winning side.

* 1998 Finishes eighth at the Masters, his best showing at a US major

* 2000 Beats Tiger Woods 4&3 to become first European to win the Match Play Championship. Finishes second in European Order of Merit.

* 2001 Ties third at the Open, his third top-10 finish in the event in five years.

* 2003 Wins NEC Invitational in Ohio.

* 2006 Wife Heather passes away after suffering from breast cancer.

* 2010 Vice-captaincy role as Europe regain Ryder Cup. Announces engagement to former model Alison Campbell.

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Life and Style
life
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone