Darren Clarke admits it took him some time to adjust to life on the Champions Tour after moving on from the main tours but hopes to add more silverware to his trophy cabinet insisting four wins isn’t enough.
Clarke’s biggest win of his over-50s career was last year’s Senior Open Championship where he pipped Pádraig Harrington at Gleneagles to become the fourth player in history to win both the Open and Senior Open Championship.
The Dungannon man joined the Champions Tour in 2018 but didn’t collect his first win until November 2020 and he admits the transition from PGA Tour/DP World Tour was a culture shock.
“I think that three-round mentality, that took me the longest to get used to whenever I come out here. You spend your whole career playing four-round tournaments and then you come to one that you’ve got to get after it from the start, so it’s a completely different way of playing, and obviously it took me a year to get used to it, but when I did, I’ve won four times already on the Champions Tour. I’d like to win more. I hope to win more. But that took me a bit of time to get used to.
“I’m having a great time. The game of golf has been very good to me. I’m very fortunate. I basically live in the Bahamas in the Abaco Club on Winding Bay in the Bahamas, so I come and play for two weeks, go to the Bahamas for two weeks, play for three weeks, go to the Bahamas for two weeks. It’s not all bad.”
Stewart Cink will be making his Champions Tour debut this week and Clarke has been offering words of advice for the 2009 Open champion.
“But I just spoke to Stewart Cink. He come up and said hello this morning, and this is his first week out here. I said, it’s brilliant to have — anytime we have a new guy coming out to join us, it’s brilliant for our Champions Tour. Stewart come out, and I said, you’re going to enjoy it out here. I said, make no mistake, it’s all fun and we’re having a laugh, but as soon as gets to a normal week on a Friday morning, we go back to tour pros on a Friday morning. Everybody is trying to win.
“I said, you’ll be surprised at how good the scoring is.
“But Stewart Cink is an unbelievable player. His record speaks for itself. He’s a major champion. Many, many Tour victories. It’s great to have somebody of his stature joining us. How much he’s going to play on the Champions Tour, I don’t know. You guys probably know that better than I will. But I hope he plays a lot because he’s a great addition for us.”
Clarke tees off at the Kitchenaid Senior PGA Championship alongside former major champions Mike Weir and Justin Leonard while Paul McGinley is grouped with Ernie Els and Jerry Kelly.
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