15 October 2014 – Torrential rain may have brought a premature end to the Portugal Masters, but Your Golf Travel ambassador Darren Clarke ensured the Sunday crowd at Oceanico Victoria Golf Club did not leave disappointed.
Clarke treated more than 100 golf fans packed into the event’s Your Golf Travel bar to an impromptu one-hour Q&A session.
Nothing was off-limits, as the 2011 Open Championship winner discussed everything from his new slimline frame and diet secrets, to his practice and drinking habits, and why he has “absolutely no interest” in representing Northern Ireland in golf at the 2016 Olympic Games.
The event was well-received by the rain-soaked crowd who witnessed just 36 holes of tournament play due to lightning and heavy rain. Frenchman Alexander Levy was declared the three-shot winner after opening with stunning rounds of 63 and 61.
“Darren was absolutely brilliant,” said Clint Gunning, a member at Hindhead Golf Club in Surrey. I really enjoyed his insights and he certainly kept everyone entertained despite the weather ruining any chance of us seeing any more golf. I wish him all the best in his quest to be appointed Europe’s captain for the 2016 Ryder Cup.”
Highlights from the chat included:
Why Darren has no interest in playing golf in the Olympic Games: “I know other sports have changed – tennis etc – and I think it’s wonderful for growing the game around the world, but for me, my opinion has always been that the Olympics were the absolute pinnacle of amateur sport.”
Will Rory ever be as good as Tiger?: “He can do what nobody else can do with a golf ball right now. He has a few years to develop yet. When Tiger was dominating and doing what he did, he finished every tournament off and won. Rory is not quite doing that just yet. But in terms of talent, I think Rory definitely has the possibility of coming close.”
Portrush potentially hosting the 2019 Open Championship: “It will be an amazing atmosphere. Portrush will be sensational and the tickets will sell out in two days.”
Europe’s next potential Ryder Cup star: “Tommy Fleetwood. He is very impressive at the minute. He’s got a great caddie in Wobbly (Phil Morbey) and they seem to be a really good team. I think Tommy will kick on and he will be in with a real good shot of making that team the next time.”
His favourite golf courses: “…if I had to pick my choice of what sort of course I’d want to play, it’d be links every day. Hitting the ball 173-and-a-half yards through the air is boring.”
Despite the diet, have you given up Guinness?: “God no. I used to go out and have 12 pints of Guinness before dinner. Now I’ll have one pint and 11 gin and tonics.”