Play of the Week 19

July 18, 2011

This week’s POTW goes to Darren Clarke, champion of the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s. Clarke fired a final-round even par 70 to capture the Claret Jug, winning in style by 3 shots of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.

The 42-year old Clarke was playing in his 20th Open. After losing his wife to breast cancer, Clarke was the sentimental favorite. He played very consistent golf all day long, smiling and laughing for much of a final round that, at times, was very tense. Even though American Phil Mickelson caught him at one point during the round, Clarke played cool and collected golf, hitting countless artful shots to save pars, capture birdies, and distance himself from the field.

Moreover, Clarke is the kind of guy golf needs. Rarely do golfers seem like regular human beings, but here is Clarke: 42 years old, drinking a Guinness at the post-championship press conference and talking about how the champs back in N. Ireland would be pissing drunk. When interviewed about the Irish Open, Clarke said “I may not be sober, but I will be in Killarney.” He’s not a physical specimen, he doesn’t hit the ball 3,000 yards, and he doesn’t wear a size 30 pants–in fact, after working out to get into shape, his agent told him he played better when he was fat! He’s a regular guy, and that’s something we can all get into.

So here’s to you Darren. Have a Guinness–or 100–and enjoy your trophy. You’ve earned it.

Also, the PF would like to give a mini-POTW shout out to Dr. Bob Rotella, sports psychologist. Dr. Bob is the author of several books on the mental aspect of the game of golf, including Golf is Not a Game of Perfect. LG and I have both benefited greatly from Rotella’s take on the game, and Dr. Bob was mentioned during the Open broadcast for his Wednesday conversation with Darren Clarke. It paid off. Here’s to you.