How is it with a population of 1.68 mill (according to wiki) does a country the size of Connecticut produce three different major champions in golf in the span of thirteen months?
First Graeme McDowell took the US Open last year, then his buddy Rory McIlroy won it last month, and now their forerunner of Northern Irish golf, Darren Clarke, got to hoist the Claret Jug today after winning the Open Championship at age 42.
I've always been a fan of Darren Clarke, and his win today comes as something of a surprise. It was widely thought his best years were behind him, but somehow he managed to put four great rounds of golf together at just the right time for his first major championship. Clarke's a good guy who lost his wife to breast cancer a few years ago. Since then, his form's been understandably off but he never gave up the dream of winning the Open Championship. And obviously that romantic stubbornness has finally paid off.
So what is it about Northern Ireland and its golfers?
I'd like to say it has to do with perseverance. The Northern Irish have had to endure a lot in the past century and it has undoubtedly hardened them. You need to be able to weather the storm of bad luck and bad bounces inherent in the game, especially so in the two Open championships, in order to claim victory. The Northern Irish, to me at least, seem to have a wonderful appreciation for irony and an ability to laugh off the bad breaks. They're also gutsy. It's these qualities that go a long way in the game of golf.
4 days ago