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2011 Champion Golfer of the Year Darren Clarke has said that he is excited to be back at the Royal St. George’s Golf Course in Sandwich, where he won The Open 10 years ago.
It is the first time that The Open has been held at the venue since the Antrim golfer’s win and the second time it will be the final men’s major of the season in recent history.
Speaking at a press conference for The Open on Wednesday, he feels that it is special to return to the place where he won.
“It’s great to come back to any golf course where you’ve played well on and won but to come back to an Open venue where you’ve played well on and won is even more special,” said Clarke.
The 52-year-old sees it as a privilege to be able to return to the Royal St. George as the last person to win the tournament there.
He won the Claret Jug in 2011 at his 20th attempt, having come close before when he came third in the 2001 Open.
The win was a childhood dream of Clarke’s, who sees the win as the best moment of his career.
He was an outsider in 2011 and praised the history of the course, which has seen shock wins in the Open throughout its existence as a tournament venue.
Clarke talked of his approach to the weekend 10 years ago, a weekend which he felt changed his mindset.
“I was ready to step across the line and win the biggest and best tournament in the world and the one I had always wanted to win.”
He noted that there are differences this week when compared to the Open Championship week in 2011.
The wind direction is different and the 18-hole course is a lot softer than it was during the last Open weekend at Sandwich.
Clarke said that these factors change the way the links course will be played this weekend.
“There won’t be so much chasing the greens, more flying them in there.”
The Open takes place from Thursday, July 15th to Sunday, July 18th with coverage of the tournament exclusively on Sky Sports The Open.
All Irish tee times for the first two rounds of the tournament are available here.