Clarke plays down Open celebrations ahead of Irish Open

Darren Clarke has told those who criticised his lengthy celebrations after his Open Championship victory to "get a life".

By his own admission, Clarke had "quite a few drinks" after his emotional win at Sandwich and this has led to criticism from some quarters.

However, the Open champion urged those critics to have a sense of perspective.

"Look what happened in Norway over the weekend... I won a golf tournament," said Clarke ahead of the Irish Open.

"There's been a little bit of chat about 'he shouldn't have had a drink, he shouldn't have done this, he shouldn't have done that'.

"People are concerned about whether or not I had one pint too many. I mean, get a life - it's sport.

"It's fantastic and I'm very fortunate to win but you have 93 people that got murdered in Norway [the original death toll has since been revised down to 76]."

After staying up all night immediately after his Sandwich triumph, Clarke partied on when he returned to Portrush.

"I think I lit the candle a little bit too much and had the flu over the weekend," he added.

Clarke, 42, did not sound back to 100% for Wednesday's pro-am but after being "hammered" by three friends when he started playing again on Friday, he has spoken to his mind coaches Bob Rotella and Mike Finnegan.

"I think it's not going to make any difference as to my desire and determination to win tournaments, but I'm much more relaxed," said the Open champion.

"One of Rotella's old sayings is 'try less and get more', whereas I've done trying a lot and getting a little bit."

Clarke joins other Irish major winners Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy in the Killarney field.

After his stunning US Open victory, McIlroy finished only 25th at Sandwich and struck a defeatist tone by questioning his own ability to handle windy links-like conditions.

McIlroy said on Wednesday that he regretted those comments.

"I was very frustrated coming off the course - I just really said what I felt at the time.

"I'm going to have to learn how to play in those conditions. You just have to deal with them as best you can."

Top Stories