What a great win for Darren Clarke at this year’s British Open. Reading his biography and getting an insight on what he has gone through personally with the death of his wife one can only be in awe of the power of the human spirit in the face of tragedy. Clarke’s golf game was a casualty of the intense sadness of losing his true love to cancer in December of 2006, and he struggled mightily to regain his form. I tell my students at times that golf is hard enough as it is, and when other factors such as physical injury or personal disarray intervene with the high level of concentration required to play high level golf there is bound to be performance issues.
Clarke had proven to be one of the best players in the world, and by 2003 he was recognized as the next great European. Alas, it was not to be, and he did not win a tournament of any sort between 2003 and 2008. He turned in a less than stellar 2009, but rebounded for a solid 2010, and then won a Euro Tour event earlier this year. His win in the British is another blow for the “old school” golf swing, as Clarke employs lots of lateral movement both in the backswing and forward swing. His prowess as a ball striker was evident in his command of all sorts of cut-off, knockdown, and punch shots over the course of the tournament, and especially in the difficult conditions on Sunday.