Golfer Darren loses four stone on fitness regime - but won't be giving up the Guinness just yet

By Claire Murphy

GOLFER Darren Clarke has teed off a get-fit regime ahead of the British Open by losing an impressive four stone.

The Irish sportsman has knocked off nine inches from his waistline - after pumping iron in the gym and cutting down on pints of Guinness.

Clarke went on a strict diet of no sugar after seeing himself on TV during the Dunhill Links at St Andrew's last year.

And a chance meeting with Jamie Myerscough, who runs the Educogym in Dublin, led to a solid, new regime.

"I saw myself at Dunhill and it was not pleasant," Clarke said. "The first thing I had to do was cut sugar out of my diet. There's sugar in everything, bread, fruit, carrots, everything.

"So I eat meat and green veg; no carbs, just high protein. At the start it was hard, despite my diet seeming entirely normal to me now."

With the advice of Myerscough, Clarke fitted his home in Portrush, Antrim, which he shares with his second wife Alison Campbell, with weights and does a regular workout.

But Clarke said that he doesn't hold back when it comes to celebrations.

"I still go out with my mates and enjoy myself and always will," he said. "Yet whereas before I'd have had a dozen pints of Guinness, now I'll have one or two pints... and 10 gin and tonics. So the outcome is still very merry, with much less calories."

The Ulsterman is facing into the British Open tomorrow and hopes that the fitness will help improve his game - although he has yet to see the full benefits.

"I'm twice as strong as I was before and feel much better, not just physically, but mentally," he said. "The only source of frustration is that the golf ball hasn't yet realised all the work I've been doing."