Clarke to make Malaysian Open return

Darren Clarke will make his first appearance in the Malaysian Open for eight years as he bids to hone his game for the Masters.

The Ulserman, who spent two weeks practising at Portrush over Christmas, wants to rebuild his world ranking after slipping to 40th last week.

Major titles are his main goal but he admits that getting one under his belt is going to be difficult with pal Tiger Woods dominating the game right now.

He said: "Tiger's already won 12 majors and he's clearly intent on beating Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 so you can see how difficult that will make it for the rest of us.”

Clarke will combine his playing duties this year by signing with new golf channel Setanta Golf as a "brand ambassador".

Setanta outbid Sky Sports for the rights to broadcast the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour over the next six years.

Clarke said: "I am really looking forward to fulfilling my role as ambassador for Setanta in the States.

"I won't be part of the commentary team as such, it will be more a case of giving insights as to the kinds of shots facing players.

"I've always had an interest in this side of the game so it promises to be a very exciting new development for me.

"I will be wearing Setanta on my clothing and from what I have seen and heard over the past few weeks, I am satisfied that they will do a great job and provide the viewer with outstanding coverage."