SANDWICH (AFP) – Darren Clarke revealed that inspirational text messages from injured superstar Tiger Woods had helped him clinch his maiden Major victory at the Open Championship here Sunday.
Clarke, one of the most popular players in world golf amongst fellow professionals, said Woods’ had sent him messages after Saturday’s third round after the Ulsterman became the overnight leader.
“I had a couple of really good messages, texts from Tiger,” Clarke revealed. “He was giving me a couple of bits of advice, which was brilliant.
“I replied to him and blah, blah, blah. But just getting little bits of advice and stuff like that, as well, made today even a little bit easier than what it otherwise might have been.”
Clarke declined to elaborate on the detail of his messages with Woods, who was ruled out of the Open as he recovers from a leg injury.
However he did divulge that US Open champion and fellow Ulsterman Rory McIlroy had sent him messages on how to handle the final day pressure.
“With Rory it was ‘keep doing what you’re doing, keep playing the way you’re playing.’ … as opposed to me being the old wise one, he was trying to give me all the information,” he said.
Clarke also shared a warm moment with runner-up Phil Mickelson, a player he has become close to ever since his wife Heather lost her fight against breast cancer in 2006. Mickelson’s wife Amy has also been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It is something that I could talk about but I’m not going to. Again, that’s personal between friends, and Phil has been through an awful lot with Amy and we have spoken quite a lot,” Clarke said.
“He has turned into also a very good friend of mine through thick and thin, and he said some very, very kind words to me there after the thing, which is great. And Amy is looking fantastic, as well.”
Mickelson meanwhile revealed Clarke would be a popular Open winner.
“He couldn’t be a nicer guy. There’s a lot of players that are extremely happy for him,” Mickelson said, revealing Clarke had offered support when his wife Amy had been diagnosed with cancer.
“He was one of the first people that called us, Amy and I, a couple years ago. He’s been through this and couldn’t have been a better person to talk to. “He’s a tremendous person and a very good friend, and I couldn’t be happier for him.”