Champ Clarke bunkered by drink rivals Rory and Graeme
Published 21/07/2011 | 16:48
Darren Clarke has suffered his first setback since becoming Open champion - defeat in a pint-downing contest with fellow major winners Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.
Despite his reputation as a man well versed in dispatching a jar or two, the 42-year-old trailed in last in the challenge between Northern Ireland's three major champs as the seemingly unending celebrations in the wake of his victory at Sandwich continued.
McIlroy revealed that 2010 US Open champion McDowell was the clear winner at the party in Portrush, while his steady but sure approach secured him second.
Staring at defeat, Clarke didn't even manage to finish.
"He gave up," laughed McIlroy.
"He saw that G Mac won and then he sort of gave up.
"I knew I wasn't going to win, I just was determined to finish it."
McIlroy, who posted a picture of the competition's first few gulps on his Twitter site, said he thinks Clarke has just about managed to sober up following days of non-stop partying.
"He's enjoying himself, and rightly so," he said.
"What he did was fantastic at the weekend, just great for the golf world in general but also great for golf in this country, it was incredible."
For McIlroy, his mentor and friend's win at the Open on the 20th time of asking was indeed proof that good things come to those who wait.
"It was incredible that he's done it after all these years," he said.