The fix was in. Last week Darren Clarke arrived at Royal St. George's Golf Club with his Marlboro Golds and four or five pairs of old school leather golf shoes and his XXL black waterproofs. He was shown to his locker in the creaking red-roofed clubhouse. In his row were seven other players: Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie, Tom Lehman, Justin Leonard, Sandy Lyle, Louis Oosthuizen and Tom Watson. All former British Open champions. Locker number 57 was supposed to go to another Open winner. Maybe Clarke's friend Tiger Woods, out on a medical leave. A man in a blue blazer from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, the outfit that runs the event, told the white-haired locker room attendant exactly whom he wanted in the empty space. And that's how Darren Clarke, a 42-year-old native son of Northern Ireland, began his 20th attempt to win the tournament that means the most to him.
Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect
Are we having fun yet?