Monday, July 18, 2011

Clarke parties all night after Open triumph

Published: 18/07/2011 at 08:32 PM
Online news: Sports

Darren Clarke promised to celebrate his British Open triumph long and hard, and the popular Northern Irishman proved as good as his word here Monday.

Northern Irish golfer Darren Clarke arrives with a pint of Guinness for a press conference after winning the 140th British Open Golf championship at Royal St George's in Sandwich, Kent, south east England, on July 17, 2011. Clarke finished five under par. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS

Speaking to journalists for the traditional morning-after photo opportunity, a bleary-eyed Clarke admitted he had spent the night partying and had not had an opportunity to get any sleep.

"I've looked at the trophy all night and sort of semi figured out it's mine," said Clarke, who slurred some of his words as he clutched the famous Auld Claret jug.

"I probably won't get any sleep until tomorrow at some stage. Have to enjoy it when you can.

"I had quite a few pints and quite a few glasses of red wine and it all continued until about 30 minutes ago.

"It's been a very good night."

Clarke stopped short of his threat to fill the Claret jug with Guinness.

"I'm a little bit of a traditionalist. I feel a bit funny about putting stuff in the Claret Jug that shouldn't be in there," he said.

"There's nothing in it as yet. That may not be the case as the week goes by!"

"I have 294 (text) messages and the writing is far too small for me to look at them in this state, so I may look at them tomorrow at some stage and figure them out."

Clarke also revealed he had finally had the opportunity to speak to his two young sons, Tyrone and Conor, who lost their mother Heather to breast cancer in 2006.

Clarke, who said on Sunday that he believed his late wife had been watching over him, dedicated his first major title to his children.

"Tyrone was very pleased, very proud - he said he was going to tell everybody his dad was Open Champion.

"Conor wanted to know what he could spend all the money on.

"So it was a huge difference between the two, but they were both very happy."

Clarke meanwhile said he hoped Sunday's win would elevate him into the running for the Ryder Cup captaincy at some point in the next few years.

"It is definitely still an ambition at some stage," he said. "I think at some stage if I get the opportunity to be Ryder Cup captain, possibly I may have a little bit more respect from players having been a major champion."

Although Clarke's ranking points from his Open victory won't count towards qualification for next year's Ryder Cup in Chicago, he believed Sunday's win will have put him on captain Jose Maria Olazabal's radar.

"Unfortunately these points don't qualify for the team next year, but in saying that, I am a major champion, so Jose Maria will be paying attention, as he always does, so we'll see where that brings me," he said.

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