Darren Clarke has set his sights on winning more majors after his maiden triumph in the Open at Sandwich.”I want more. I don’t want to just rest on one,” said Clarke, 42, on Monday after staying up all night celebrating.”I had quite a few pints and quite a few glasses of red wine and it all continued until about 30 minutes ago.”Clarke became Northern Ireland’s third major winner in the last six events, leading to calls for the Open to return to the region at Royal Portrush.He won by three shots after going round in level par to win the Open at his 20th attempt on Sunday, his five-under par total seeing off Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson who finished joint second.
The victory also catapulted Clarke up to 30th in the world rankings from 111th. England’s Luke Donald remains world number one, ahead of countryman Lee Westwood despite both players missing the cut at Sandwich.”I’ve looked at the trophy all night and sort of semi figured out it’s mine,” added Clarke, the Open’s oldest champion since Roberto de Vicenzo, 44, at Hoylake in 1967.”I probably won’t get any sleep until tomorrow at some stage. [You] have to enjoy it when you can. It’s been a very good night.”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’s success follows Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy’s US Open triumphs and has led to renewed calls for the Open to return to Northern Ireland for only the second time in the event’s history.Royal Portrush hosted the event in 1951 and is one of only 14 courses to have staged the prestigious British major.Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) – which organises the Open championship – told BBC Radio 5 live the possibility of Royal Portrush hosting the tournament in the future would be investigated.”We’re not oblivious to these things. We’re going to have a look at Portrush and see how it shapes up in terms of, one, the golf course…secondly the infrastructure around the course…and thirdly…whether the championship would be a commercial success in that part of the world”.
He added that they would probably have a look at this “in the latter half of this year”.Clarke, who will next be in action at the Irish Open in Killarney on 28 July, backed calls for the event to return to Northern Ireland.”From a personal point of view, it [Royal Portrush] is one of the finest links courses in the world and I’d love for them to host the Open.”At the moment they (the R&A) can’t see a way of having it there, so it’s very tough.”I wish there was some way around it and I hope at some stage in the future they will find a way around it because the golf course is every bit as good as any of the Open venues.”It’s good enough to be in the Open rota. Hopefully they will figure a way around the logistics if they possibly can.” – BBC