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Sunday 11 December 2016

Sleepless in Sandwich: Clarke parties all night after Open win

Published 18/07/2011 | 13:04

Darren Clarke at a press conference this morning
Darren Clarke at a press conference this morning
Darren Clarke at the winner's press conference with a pint of the black stuff and the Claret Jug. Photo: Getty Images
A delighted Darren Clarke kisses his partner Alison after winning the British Open golf championship. Photo: Reuters
Wild celebrations erupted at Dungannon Golf Club as Darren Clarke holes his final put to become British Open Champion
Clarke celebrates after sinking his putt on the 18th to win the 2011 Open Chapionship. Photo: PA
Darren Clarke holds aloft the Claret Jug. Photo: PA

Most Open champions wake up the morning after the night before and realise it was not a dream.

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But not Darren Clarke. He had not been to bed when he brought the Claret Jug back to Sandwich this morning to pose for more photos and hold a press conference before flying home to Portrush.

"I've looked at the trophy all night and sort of semi figured out it's mine," said Clarke, looking bleary-eyed.

"I probably won't get any sleep until tomorrow at some stage. Have to enjoy it when you can.

"I had quite a few pints and quite a few glasses of red wine and it all continued until about 30 minutes ago.

"It's been a very good night."

Nothing, though, had been poured into the trophy.

"I'm a little bit of a traditionalist. I feel a bit funny about putting stuff in the Claret Jug that shouldn't be in there," he added.

"There's nothing in it as yet. That may not be the case as the week goes by!"

Clarke said he had been inundated with messages of congratulations, but was not yet in a position to reply to them all. "I have 294 [text] messages and the writing is far too small for me to look at them in this state, so I may look at them tomorrow at some stage and figure them out."

His first phone call, however, was to his sons Tyrone and Conor in Portrush, to whom he dedicated his victory along with his late wife, Heather, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2006.

"Tyrone was very pleased, very proud – he said he was going to tell everybody his dad was Open Champion. Conor wanted to know what he could spend all the money on. So it was a huge difference between the two, but they were both very happy."

Clarke also revealed that Tiger Woods had sent him text messages of encouragement on Saturday night.

"I got a text from Rory [McIlroy], sort of reiterating what I had sent to him before he went out and won the US Open at Congressional," Clarke said. "And then I got a couple of really good texts from Tiger. He was giving me a couple of bits of advice, which was brilliant. Just getting things like that made today a little bit easier than it might have been."

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