In the aftermath of the British Open Championship the UK is still praising the latest golf masters champion to come out of Northern Ireland. Darren Clarke was not even on the raidar, let alone backed to win by any pundits.
Clarke entered over 50 major championships before his maiden victory last Sunday at the British Open Championship on a very demanding links course in Sandwich, Kent where one Japanese golfer asked why they didn’t stage the Open in the summer!
Following the recent success of young Rory McIlroy who won this years’ US Open, and Graeme McDowell who won the US Open in 2010, I feel for the forgotten golfer from Northern Ireland who only a few years ago had Tiger Woods looking over his shoulder. But since winning three major championships in 12 months in 2008 (The Open Championship in 2007 and 2008 and the PGA Championship in 2008) Padraig Harrington has failed to be a serious contender; and with all the media hype about the richness of top golfers in Northern Ireland, I didn’t hear Harrington’s name mentioned once.
On the final day Darren Clarke looked composed under pressure from two Americans Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, ranked sixth and seventh respectively, in the world rankings.
Maybe Padraig Harrington can take some tips from Rik Mayall’s character, The Bombardier in this hilarious new video advertisement from Bombardier beer starring Rik Mayall as he gives three tips to improve your golf swing.
Chris Wood inevitable decision to turn professional has taken a new turn as Ryder Cup hero Darren Clarke has taken a deep underlying personal interest in the Bristol whizz kid.
The 21 year old finished an astonishing fifth in this year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and he seems to be the latest crop of European youngsters to grace the game in recent time.
Many similarities have been apparent with Justin Rose. Rose has taken around nine years to establish himself amongst the highest elite of golf after famously finishing fourth in the Open as an amateur. And with Chris Wood finishing fifth ten years later, he would be hoping that he could emulate the success Rose has endured throughout his career.
Justin Rose began well in the European Tour before taking the plunge into the US Tour as his form suffered considerably. Rose, now aged 28, has redeveloped his game to push on as a professional golfer and now he looks an accomplished player.
Chris Wood’s career has began well as he managed another top ten finish at the Portuguese Masters and has starts to strengthen his credibility amongst his peers.
Darren Clarke will be able to give pointers on how to handle pressure and how to play consistently well, especially on the difficult courses. The veteran is still popular throughout the golfing circuit and Wood’s sheer awareness on getting the Irishman on side gives clear indication that his head is in the right place.
It is important that Chris Wood has a figurehead to look up to and the mere fact that he is willing to learn is a sign of a true sportsman, and he has managed to keep his feet firmly on the ground.
Wood has to go through the motion that any newly turned professional has to do, as his ambition now is to achieve his European Tour Card for 2009 and battle with the elite. In terms of european golf betting in 2009 though – keep an eye out for this man.