The Open - Clarke scoops 2m bonus, diet on hold

Sun, 17 Jul 20:37:00 2011

Darren Clarke's extraordinary week continued when Newcastle chairman Mike Ashley paid out a 2m bonus to the Open winner.

The Open - Clarke scoops 2m bonus

And with a 900,000 cheque for winning his first Major at the age of 42, Clarke also scooped 2m from sponsors Dunlop, who are owned by Ashley.

With the celebrations in full swing, Clarke did not sleep before a morning press conference to mark his triumph, and the 16-stone Ulsterman admitted that a planned WeightWatchers diet programme, which he was due to start immediately after the Open, might have to be put on hold.

"I'm supposed to be on WeightWatchers tomorrow," Clarke after winning at Sandwich.

"With my manager Chubby Chandler on it, I can't get away from listening about it. I'm staying at Chubby's apartment, so I'm going to eat and drink as much as I want tonight. I think there's five points for every pint of Guinness but this could be a bad week for me to try to start.

"I've no idea how much weight I'm going to lose, we'll see.

"I'll probably get bored with it after a week and give up."

Earlier in the week Clarke had joked that his weight might actually be better for his golf game.

He joked: “Chubby has always said that I play better when I’m fat, and obviously I’ve been adhering to that theory this week.”

Clarke has proven one of the most popular champions in Open history.

The Northern Irishman lost his wife, Heather, to cancer in 2006, only to come back to golf a month later as a wildcard pick for the Ryder Cup, and play an instrumental part in winning the tournament in Ireland.

He was second in the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year competition later that year.

Clarke paid tribute to her in his victory speech.

"There's obviously somebody who is watching down from up above and I know she'd be very proud of me.

"But I think she'd be more proud of my two boys Tyrone and Conor.

"It's been a long journey to get here. I'm 42 and I'm not getting any younger. But I've got here in the end.

"It's been a dream since I've been a kid to win The Open. It just feels incredible right now."

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