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Agent: Clarke almost quit

Darren Clarke's agent has claimed that the Northern Irishman almost quit golf just months before his stunning success at The Open last weekend.

The 42-year-old secured his first major title with a nerveless final-round display to beat Americans Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson by three strokes. The celebrations that followed were, however, a far cry from Clarke's state of mind in April after he apparently contemplated giving the sport away after a poor run of form culminated in a round of 81 in Morocco.

Clarke's agent, and friend, Andrew Chandler has revealed he convinced the Irishman to instead take a short break from the game - advice that has proved astute as he returned to win in Mallorca before his Open triumph.

"He was so low he thought about giving it up," Chandler was reported as saying in The Guardian.

"It was the lowest I have ever seen him. He wasn't hitting the ball like he used to in Morocco, so I told him to take extra holiday.

"He went away for three weeks and came back refreshed."

© Press Association