Jinxed Darren Clarke has revealed how he narrowly cheated death in a high speed buggy smash.
The Dungannon racer, who sped out of Wentworth in a €220,000 Lamborghini yesterday, ended up with cuts and bruises on his right hand after going into a death roll in his 250-cc buggy on Sunday.
And MRI scan revealed no serious damage and Clarke will be fit to tee it up in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth tomorrow.
But he was badly shaken by the incident, which came just a month after he picked up a hamstring injury in a back garden kick around with his eight year old son Conor.
Clarke revealed: “I flipped it over, it rolled several times and even went head over tip. I had an MRI scan and all of that. There’s no broken bones or tendon damage, it’s just sore.
“It swelled up a bit but it’s alright now. But I feel I’m a bit of a jinx. You wouldn’t want to be hanging around me too much at the minute.
“You know what I’m going to do, I’m going to wrap myself in cotton wool when I’m playing with the boys again.”
This isn’t the first time that Clarke has had problems with his toys.
A few years ago, the Ulsterman took delivery of a high-speed trike and immediately crashed it into the wall of his garage.
The Hells Angels style bike was eventually sold to pal Sam Torrance, who was thinking of buying one.
But Clarke has no plans to get rid of his buggy just yet.
He said: “I’ll be back out in it again. I have around 13 acres around the house and I like to get out there with the boys and plug around.
“I have two fields beside my house, which is my land, and I’ve got two off-road buggies with roll cages and all that sort of stuff.
“The boys have got a 50-cc one and I’ve got one and mine’s a little more horsepower than theirs, a 250-cc.
“I was out on Sunday messing about, the boys were having a great time and so was I, and I flipped it and rolled it and I got 9.8 for technical merit.
“I banged my head against the ground and I ended up hanging upside down in the buggy. I could have done myself serious damage.
“But, no, I wasn’t cut up by Conor. This was fully my faux pas.”
Clarke confessed that he wasn’t wearing a helmet, but was saved by a four-point harness and then rescued by his father Godfrey, caddie Billy Foster and another friend.
Clarke said: “They didn’t know what I’d done, if I’d broken my arm or whatever. The boys had to roll it back over for me.”
Onlooker Foster joked that he was so surprised that he spilt the beer he was drinking at the time.
He said: “I spilled my beer, can you believe that? I gave 9.8 for technical merit. He rolled it over several times. Very impressive.
“He told me I couldn’t flip it so I’d just been whizzing around in it shortly before.”
Clarke explained: “It’s has a four point harness and it’s a proper piece of kit. It’s not a toy. But I’ve flipped it.
“I’ve been out in it 15 or 18 times and never even threatened to flip it but this time I did it good and proper.”
As for the hamstring injury that caused him to pull out after one round of the Wachovia Championship and then miss The Players and the Irish Open, Clarke says he’s almost full recovered.
He added: “The hamstring’s not bad. I’ve had physio every day with Jonathan Shrewsbury down in Weybridge, which is 15 minutes from here.
“So I’ve been down there every day and at the weekend, so far. There’s a few guys that go there, Reading Football Club, Chelsea Football Club, London Irish.”
Unlike Ian Poulter last year, Clarke won’t be jetting out to see the Champions League final between his favourite side Liverpool and AC Milan.
He said: “I had tickets and everything. The brother-in-law is going and taking a friend with him. I can’t do it. I’m desperate to play golf and it just wouldn’t be the right preparation.”
Clarke will watch the match from the same sofa he saw Padraig Harrington capture the Irish Open on Sunday.
And he confessed that he is delighted that the Dubliner has shaken a monkey off the back of every Irish player.
He said: “I just caught the last hole. The 72nd. It was fantastic to see Padraig win.
“It means you boys might leave us alone now about the record. He obviously played very, very well, because the course appeared to be very tough.
“I am absolutely delighted for him and the tournament. Any time you have an Irish winner at home, you usually get more crowds out there and it goes without saying.
“It will be good next year even though scheduling is always going to be difficult sandwiched between the Players and The PGA (BMW) so hopefully that will be the case.
“From what I saw of it, it was very tough but it looked great. It would be nice to get a whole week of good weather at some stage.”
With that Clarke smashed a massive drive up the Wentworth’s 18th as he prepared to chase his first PGA victory.
Second in the event in 1997 and 2000 and fourth in 2002, he believes it is still to early in the year to hope for a victory.
He said: “The game’s not bad, not bad. I’ve been working away as much as I can. The leg feels fine, I just wish I hadn’t done this with the hand. But it should be okay.
“The course is magnificent. Ernie (Els) has made a few more changes again this year which has made it a bit more difficult.
“There’s a blind bunker in here on 18. The ditch at No 12 comes more into the fairway. There’s a few new bunkers here and there. So it’s going to play more difficult.
“The course is in fantastic condition. I played it last Friday afternoon. I had a practice round. It was brilliant to play on and it’s even better now. The greens are brilliant. They’re firm and fast.”