Well played DC!

Along with most of the rest of Britain and Ireland, I spent Sunday July 17 2011 glued to the TV with my fingers crossed, hoping that Darren Clarke was going to make it across the line and win his first major championship. As a fellow quadragenarian, it was nice to see that ‘one of us’ still has what it takes to take on and beat the young pups.

Before he moved back to Portrush, Darren was frequently seen on the streets of Sunningdale, usually at the gents outfitters across the road from our office here at EGD. But it was in Bahrain this January that I got a chance to chat to Darren and it was because of the circumstances of this that I was that bit more pleased than I would already have been to see Darren win the claret jug.

The Volvo Golf Champions, on the course we designed with Colin Montgomerie, had concluded an hour or so beforehand; the crowds had largely dispersed and the tour players were back in their hotels or on their way to the airport. Only one pro remained to chat with the fans and that was Darren. He wasn’t in the private clubhouse bar, but was outside at the public bar and for an hour or more was happy to spend time chatting to all and sundry. He and I spent a good ten minutes chatting about the course, the event and golf design in general. It was a good, open discussion and we even disagreed over a couple of points. When he said he didn’t like the hump in the centre of the 15th fairway, because he couldn’t get his drive past it, I told him to “hit it harder next time!” Well, he’s now qualified to play in the next Volvo Golf Champions, so here’s hoping that the event returns to Bahrain to give him the chance to put my tip into practice! I was too polite to mention his double bogey on the last hole of the tournament, which cost him €21,000…but I think he’s probably got over that by now!

It was nice to see one of the leading players on the tour prepared to kick back with the fans in such convivial surroundings and I know that everybody who was there that night, as we celebrated the end of a very successful event, will have been that extra bit pleased to see Darren win the big one. Well played DC!