The 2011 British Open winner, Darren Clarke, will make his Senior British Open debut at Royal Lytham & St Annes from July 25-28.
The 50-year-old Ulsterman’s emotionally-charged success at the 2011 British Open captivated the sporting world as he dedicated his victory to his late wife, Heather, after securing The Claret Jug by a margin of three strokes from American Phil Mickelson at Royal St George’s Golf Club.
The victory was Clarke’s first top ten in a Major Championship since he finished tied third at the same championship in 2001 on the links of Royal Lytham & St Annes – Clarke shared third place with this year’s defending Senior British Open champion Miguel Angel Jiménez and fellow former Ryder Cup captains Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to Royal Lytham. It’s a very fair golf course and I went close there in 2001,” said Clarke. “I remember being one behind on 17 and went with driver when I shouldn’t have. It cost me that time but I have great memories there and I like the course.”
The last three Senior British Open winners were European, with Paul Broadhurst winning at Carnoustie Golf Links in 2016, Langer at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in 2017 and Jiménez at St Andrews last year.
Looking forward to his first Senior British Open, Clarke admitted:
“It’s very special for us to have the opportunity to compete on these fantastic golf courses. Over the last few years, Miguel, Bernhard and Paul have played some superb golf to win the Senior Open Trophy and the number of guys who travel from around the world to play just shows how important The Senior Open is on our calendars.”
Clarke will be bidding to join an elite group of golfers who have won both the Claret Jug and the Senior British Open Trophy – Bob Charles, Gary Player and Tom Watson.
The Irish golfer will be one of a host of former Major Champions, Ryder Cup captains and European Tour winners competing at Royal Lytham & St Annes later this year.
He will join fellow former Ryder Cup captains Bernhard Langer, Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam in the field, as well as defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez, whom Clarke partnered at The 2004 Ryder Cup in a 5&4 victory over Chad Campbell and Davis Love III in the Friday fourballs.