By Brian Keogh

Struggling Ryder Cup duo Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley need to put the blinkers on and do their own thing.

That's the view of veteran Des Smyth, who is amazed that two of his K Club heroes are languishing well outside the world's top 50.

As Vijay Singh, 44, basked in the glory of his 33rd PGA Tour win in Sunday's Arnold Palmer Invitational, Clarke and and McGinley were surveying their lowly position in the world rankings.

But Smyth reckons that normal service will be resumed quickly if two of Europe's grey generation they stop looking around them and stick to their guns.

Smyth said: "It is disappointing for Darren and Paul to be where they are because they are far better than that. Obviously they haven't been playing their game.

"You slip down the order very quickly if you don't compete and if you don't get top ten results.

"The world is a small place when it comes to golf and they are coming from all parts of the world and being successful.

"But it is not that Darren and Paul should stop believing in themselves. The key is to do your won thing and play your game well."

Singh won for the 18th time in his 40s and leapt two places to seventh in the latest World Golf Ranking with his record equalling win for a foreign player on the PGA Tour.

But Clarke, 38, slid eight places to 65th in the world after crashing out of Bay Hill at halfway - blowing any remote chance he had of sneaking into the top 50 and this week's WGC-CA Championship at Doral.

McGinley, 40, moved up just two spots to 95th after a hit and miss performance in the TCL Classic, where he finished a massive 13 shots behind winner Chapchai Nirat in a share of 34th place.

But from the highs of the world's top 20 not too long ago, Smyth reckons the Irish pair need to get back to basics quickly and show that they still have the game to mix it with the best.

Still the oldest player to win on the European Tour - he was 48 when he won in Madeira in 2001 - Smyth is convinced that age is no excuse for the out of sorts Irish duo.

He rapped: "The reason they are not up there is because they are not playing their game well. That's it - it is not rocket science.

"Look at Vijay - he is 44 and he played his game well. If you do that, you can win. It doesn't matter what age you are or what anyone else is doing."

Clarke has had a difficult couple of years and while Smyth is sympathetic he believes the players should be capable of getting on with things when they hit the road.

He said: "When things happen off the course, it doesn't make it any easier. But it is the life you choose. It is something that shouldn't come into play.

"You have made the choice and you know the life you have to live. So my attitude would be, get on with it. I don't think the travelling bothers guys really.

"Vijay's is an amazing achievement. Those old guys can still do it and Fred Funk showed that as well recently when he won on the Champions Tour and then on the main PGA Tour."

Clarke planned to work out his Bay Hill frustrations with a two-day trip to Augusta to play with friends and check out the course ahead of his next scheduled appearance - the Masters.

After that the big Dungannon man will take his sons Tyrone and Connor on holiday to Abaco in the Bahamas before heading back to Georgia to play in the season's first major.
And he is convinced that he can turn his game around quickly - despite the frustration of missing his third cut of the season in Orlando by a long way.

He said: "Frustrated doesn’t quite go far enough to describe how I’m feeling about my golf these days.

"Not a lot seems to be going right, but at least I know it can turn round just as quickly as it disappeared.

"The first round at Bay Hill was a case in point, turning a potential 69 into a 73 with a four-putt from about eight feet."

McGinley mix two promising 68s with a couple of lacklustre 72s in the birdie-fest that was the TCL CLassic.

But after initially pencilling his name in for this week's Madeira Island Open, he was decided to wait until next week's Portuguese Open to get his season up and running.

Peter Lawrie, Gary Murphy and David Higgins will fly the flag in Madeira, where Jean Van de Velde defends the title.