Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Clarke Inspired by Harrington's Heroics as He Returns to the Big Stage; Confidence Boost: Darren Clarke Is Back in Form

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Clarke Inspired by Harrington's Heroics as He Returns to the Big Stage; Confidence Boost: Darren Clarke Is Back in Form

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMITH

DARREN CLARKE will start his first major of the season at Oakland Hills today excited to be back on the world stage.

Clarke, who watched the first three majors of the year on television following his fall down the world rankings, will tee off in the 90th US PGA Championship courtesy of an invitation from the PGA of America.

Inspired by Padraig Harrington's victory at Royal Birkdale last month and a desire to return to Ryder Cup action at Valhalla next month where he will probably have to rely on a captain's pick from Nick Faldo Clarke's confidence has been boosted by last week's tied-sixth finish at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

"I really enjoyed last week at the Bridgestone," Clarke said. "I've missed the big tournaments, it's where I want to play and I want to do the same thing again this week. I watch all of them, they're the biggest events in the world.

"Part of watching it has been tough but it's been egging me on to work it out. I'm trying to get there but I watched Padraig win and the golf he played on that back nine was sensational, it was incredible to watch.

"After the struggle that he'd gone through, to be that mentally strong was fantastic to see and he thoroughly deserved his win."

This will be the second major of the year without world No1 Tiger Woods and while golf may be missing him, he appears not to be missing it while he recuperates from knee surgery.

Woods admitted he only tuned in for the climax of The Open. …

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