Just six weeks after the death, from breast cancer, of his wife in 2006, Darren Clarke helped Europe win an emotionally-charged Ryder Cup.
But when the raw emotion and adrenaline dissolved, so Clarke's golf career began to unravel.
By 2011, any thoughts that Clarke had a chance of winning a Major (after 20 years and 54 attempts as a pro) were fanciful to say the least.
Which makes his Open victory at Royal St George’s all the more remarkable. He always had the talent, but this was often offset by his fondness for a drop of Guinness which led to issues of weight and fitness.
None of that mattered in 2011as he found himself one clear of the field going into the final round and held off various American challenges to become the oldest first-time winner of the Open since Argentina’s Roberto De Vicenzo in 1967.
‘It’s been a long and bumpy road, I have had some good things happen to me and some bad things, but I’ve had so much support from an awful lot of people,’ said Clarke, fighting back the tears.
And then, with ‘someone up there watching', Clarke celebrated in fitting style, with a pint (or ten) of the black stuff.
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