On this day in 2011: Darren Clarke becomes oldest Open champion since 1967

By Sports Desk July 17, 2023

Darren Clarke became the oldest Open champion since 1967 on this day in 2011.

The 42-year-old Northern Irishman shot an even-par 70 on the final day to hold off the challenge of American duo Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson and win by three strokes at Royal St George’s, Sandwich.

It was an emotional victory as Clarke had lost his wife Heather to breast cancer five years earlier, with their two sons watching on at home across the Irish Sea.

“I’ve been writing this speech for 20 years now and it’s been a long bumpy road,” said Clarke, who had held the lead since the second day at the Kent course.

“This means a lot to me and my family and as you may know there is someone up there looking down on me as well.”

It was the third win for a Northern Irishman at a major in the space of 13 months after Graeme McDowell’s 2010 US Open success and Rory McIlroy’s victory at the 2011 edition at Congression Country Club, Maryland, a month earlier.

Clarke became the oldest Open champion since Roberto De Vicenzo’s triumph in 1967 at the age of 44.

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