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Darren Clarke boosted by reporters comment

An unpleasant comment from a reporter helped spur Darren Clarke to his first European Tour win for five years, the Briton said on Wednesday.

“It was nice to come through the other side,” said Clarke of his 11th tour victory at the Asian Open on Sunday.

“According to one press guy last year I was ‘continuing my inexorable slide to oblivion’. It was gratuitous and needless and it was nice to prove people like that wrong.”

The Northern Irishman’s form dipped alarmingly after his wife Heather died of cancer in 2006.

But Clarke, who overcame world number one Tiger Woods to win the 2000 WGC-Accenture Matchplay title, said last week’s victory in Shanghai had given him renewed vigour.

His climb to 112th in the world rankings, 14th on Europe’s money-list and 22nd on the Ryder Cup world points table have also lifted Clarke’s confidence.

“This win has given me a great boost for the Ryder Cup (in September),” said the 39-year-old. “There is some way to go yet but if I keep up my work ethic I have a chance.”

The 30-foot putt he holed at the 72nd hole in Shanghai provided Clarke with another big boost.

“I’d been having so many problems with my putting I went to see an alignment specialist,” he said. “We found out I was all askew.

“It worked a little bit (in China), maybe not on the 16th and 17th, but certainly on the 18th.”


May 1, 2008

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