Darren Clarke has confessed that he must learn to win ugly like Padraig Harrington if he is to become a world force again.
The Ulsterman, 40, has no problem admitting that he is too much a perfectionist and lacks the mental strength of triple Major winner Harrington.
But he reckons he’s now far less likely to see red on the golf course and believes his new-found patience will pay dividends as he battles his way back to the top of the game.
Reflecting on his biggest weakness, Clarke said: “If I had been as mentally strong as Padraig over the course of my career, I think it is safe to say that I would have done much better.
“Padraig's success has been wonderful. I've been delighted for him. He has won three of the last six majors and mentally he is unbelievably strong.
“On that score I'm probably not. But I'm getting better. I'm more tolerant of myself and of others.
“Some people are more talented in certain areas than others. And the mental side of golf is unfortunately not one of the areas where I have been particularly gifted.”
Clarke has made an amazing return to form this year, winning in Shanghai and Holland and jumping from 258th in the world rankings last December to 56th this week.
On the down side, he failed to qualify for three of the four majors or the Ryder Cup.
But he has now set his sights on securing his place in all four majors next year by finishing the season inside the top 15 on the money lost and the top 50 in the world.
Currently 14th in the Order of Merit, Clarke said: “If I do both, I can sit down for my Christmas lunch knowing I am back in all the majors next year.
“Not being in those and the WGCs really hurt me when it came to qualifying for the Ryder Cup side. Having said that, while I was disappointed I wasn't selected, I had ample opportunity to qualify like everyone else. My game just wasn't good enough.
“I understand that most people would still have picked me, but Nick (Faldo] went with what he thought was right. And, to be fair, Ian Poulter played some great stuff at Valhalla.
“He's a good friend of mine. We had a good chat right after the team was announced. I had no ill feelings towards him.
“My only problem was with Nick saying that he wanted current form, then not picking me. If you are looking at that aspect of things, my form was good as anyone's.”
“I was very pleased with the way I had won in Holland. I took on Henrik Stenson – ranked six in the world – head-to-head and won by four. So my form was there and I did everything I could do, apart from qualifying automatically. That's my one big regret, not playing well enough."
Clarke confessed that he felt helpless watching the Ryder Cup on TV but paid tribute to both sides for the amazing standard of play.
He said: “I really couldn't believe how well some of the guys played. Under so much pressure, the shots they were hitting were incredible. As a player myself I never realised how good it is to watch.”
Clarke will return to action in next week’s Portugal Masters, where Paul McGinley is also hoping to bounce back to form,
After following poor performances in Cologne and Birmingham with a missed the cut in the Dunhill Links, McGinley said: “I haven’t played a decent round since the Johnnie Walker Classic at Gleneagles but I have been in the game long enough to know that form is not a constant.
“Just as I have had good runs through the season I will, in all probability, have bad ones too.
“I will make sure I have a good rest this week, re-group, work hard on my game towards the end of the week and be ready to resume at the Portuguese Masters next week.”