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Meeting the Queen was more nerve-racking than winning the Open, reveals Darren Clarke

RYDER CUP-winning golfer Darren Clarke said meeting the Queen was more nerve-racking than winning a major tournament after he was awarded an OBE.

The Ulsterman, 44, who won the 2011 Open Championship, was a vice captain of the European Ryder Cup team which memorably beat the US at the Medinah Country Club, Chicago, in September, having also played in five of the tournaments.

He captured golf fans’ hearts in 2006 when he put in one of the greatest ever performances in the history of the Ryder Cup at The K Club, just six weeks after his first wife Heather lost her long fight with breast cancer.

He said Heather would have been proud of him, as was his second wife Alison, who was there to see him presented with his medal by the Queen, along with his children.

But he added: "She would have been proud of me but more proud of the kids than me, sitting in there and seeing the Queen."

He said today that it was a great honour to meet the Queen as he was made an OBE for services to the sport.

Asked how it compared to winning the Open or the Ryder Cup, he said: "It is right up there but the Open and Ryder Cup were much easier than this."

Sporting a deep tan, he joked he was more "windtanned" than suntanned, from travelling around the world to play golf.

He added: "This wasn't a case of nerves, this was a great honour to meet the Queen.

"She asked me about the golf and the charity things as well."

Mr Clarke set up the Darren Clarke Foundation in his first wife's memory after her death.

PA Media