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There’s a great bit of luck involved in sports as we’ve seen, but this serge of luck always seems to occur at the most opportune times to the most unlikeliest of people. That was the case in this year’s British open with its unlikely winner, Darren Clarke. It is important to remember though, luck is not the only reason he won; it is not the only reason he holds the Claret Jug instead of names like Phil Mickelson or golden boy, Roy McIlroy. He played well enough to be in the position to capitalize on those moments.
Clarke delivered in the final round while players like Dustin Johnson faltered in the latter parts of Sunday’s round. We shouldn’t be surprised at the outcome only from this standpoint, a different golfer won the last 10 majors we have seen played and I’m not sure if that will change anytime soon.
Sports fans have come to expect Phil to crumble when it matters most, but it was different this time. Different because, although Clarke is a seasoned golfer, he doesn’t strike fear in anyone who knows the game or have played it; thus there should be no pressure- aside from the pressure being applied by the course itself.
For a man who has seen his share of disappointment on the golf course at this stage of his career, you would think he would have figured out a way to avoid these lapses in crucial tournaments (Majors).
After being tied entering the 8th green, things took a turn for the worse on a day where there were only two birdies completed throughout the round. It is important to note also how difficult it was to have played on this course; the conditions were brutal to deal with considering the rain and relentless winds that seem to alter the play of many golfers.
Clarke finished 5 under par after bogeying the final hole while Mickelson finished 2 under par. This continues the drought of American winners with Irishmen Clarke, who is a popular sympathetic figure on the tour.
Now it’s interesting to consider what happened with golden boy McIlroy; Roy McIlroy was in contention early on after a slow start, but never got things going. Some say it is a direct result of his inactivity after winning the last major in which the Tiger comparisons began to creep up. Not sure which had greater impact on his play, the pressures of such talks or the difficulty of the course itself? Either way, he finished 7 over par and wasn’t a factor down the stretch.
I wonder how he will recover from this outing after his star was so bright just weeks ago.
We must congratulate Clarke for winning his first major and acknowledge the manner in which he accomplished the things he did. But I, like most sports fans can’t help but wonder about the golfer who was not present for this major. Tiger Woods misses many tournaments but is always present for majors- this win is great in the realm of golf and golf purist who will watch this sport regardless of whether tiger plays or not. The problem instead is that a casual sports fan who did not watch this major will likely not watch most majors if Tiger is not playing.
The ratings will not be at high levels as long as Tiger remains M.I.A; America responds to sporting events, not the everyday dealings of niche sports like golf or tennis. Events usually involve big personalities that have an identity outside of that particular sport and it is clearly evident that we have yet to find someone to fill that vacant gap left by Tiger Woods.
A great victory for Darren Clarke, a player who has been around for a very long time; but I’ll be the first to admit that the excitement is not there. My excitement along with the enthusiasm of the collective sporting world remains in search of something special; sadly enough, that wasn’t it.