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Clarke's sheer willpower

DEFINITIVE proof that gym-rat Darren Clarke has given up the beer came at The Links, Fancourt, last Friday.

English company director John Scott Schillito was thrilled to be drawn with the Open champion in last Friday's second round of the Volvo Champions. Under an innovative scheme, amateurs from around the world can qualify for an 18-hole taste of the action on Tour.

Of a similar age and build, Clarke and his partner might have passed for brothers, especially when the Sheffield-born amateur appeared in a pair of pink trousers that could have come straight from the Ulsterman's wardrobe.

"From the moment I qualified, Darren was the only one I wanted to play with," said the London-based businessman. "I was thrilled when we were drawn together and he was absolutely fantastic out there, unbelievably good to play with. It really has been a dream come true for me."

Yet Schillito suggested they go for a beer, Clarke told him: "We'll have a drink alright, but it probably won't be a beer." Now that's willpower.

Irish Independent