Clarke: Ireland has more Major winners
Ireland's golfing success story could run and run, according to recently crowned Open champion Darren Clarke.
The 42-year-old Northern Irishman's remarkable victory at Royal St George's this month follows on from wins in the last two U.S. Opens by compatriots Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell and Irishman Padraig Harrington in claiming three major titles.
Their exploits have enhanced Ireland's chances of unearthing more young potential major winners, Clarke said, and he has already set the ball rolling.
"I have got my Darren Clarke Foundation which is developing junior golf in Ireland and I also have my golf school in Antrim," Clarke told reporters the day before competing in the Irish Open.
"I have 38 students, from 16-18, on a two-year course where they get taught academically in the morning and have golf lessons with pros in the afternoon. I'm trying to give a little back to the game in Ireland and find the next Rory, the next G-Mac (McDowell), the next Padraig.
"We have a couple of fantastic young players at the school at the moment: Paul Cutler and Alan Dunbar, who play this week, and there's another young guy, Jack Hume, who won all the Irish boys' titles a few years ago. But there are so many good, young kids coming through.
"It's also down to the Golf Union of Ireland. We are fortunate, there's a bit of a conveyor belt of good youngsters.
"Top-class amateurs are almost professional now the way they manage the game and prepare themselves and any advice I can give them and make them a little bit better, I'm keen to do."
Clarke, however, advises his young charges not to copy all of his ways.
"I drink a little bit too much, smoke a little bit too much and enjoy myself a little bit too much at times," he said. "But when it comes down to it, I'll work when I really have to, as well."