Dazza hits 40

Darren Clarke plans to celebrate his 40th birthday next week by going on the beer in Donegal.

The Ulsterman will let his hair down with pals on August 14 by re-living his stag night at some of his favourite haunts.

He said: “I love Donegal and have lots of great memories of family holidays there. We had a caravan back then but it’s only going to be 15 minutes on a chopper from Portrush this time.

“I plan to play some golf with some friends, have some beers, go to bed, wake up and then do some more celebrating.”

Clarke recalls how he celebrated his stag party by playing golf at Murvagh.

He said: “It’s one of the great links courses in Ireland and I remember they made me tee off on all the par fives with a sand iron. It took some doing to get past the ladies tees.”

Asked if he had any plans to buy Clarke a 40th birthday gift, pal Lee Westwood joked: “It's a touchy subject. I wouldn't go anywhere near him with that subject at the moment.”

Harrington ribs cousin

Double Open champion Padraig Harrington has been giving cousin and NFL star Joey a hard time about his golf.

Now on a $1 million, one-year deal as a back-up quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, former Detroit star Harrington had two holes-in-one on the same par-three earlier this summer.

Harrington said: “I had him over for dinner in Ireland six weeks ago. The first question I asked: ‘Was it a blind par three?’

“I believe it is. Because often times at home when you have a blind par three, the caddies put the ball in the hole.”

Four-handicapper Joey still has a way to go to catch Harrington, who has had four aces on tour, including one in the Masters.


Westwood backs Darren

Lee Westwood reckons Darren Clarke could be a dark horse for US PGA glory.

The English ace reckons in-form Clarke has the long game to break his major duck at Oakland Hills and grab his Ryder Cup cap on merit

Westwood said; “He is very much a confidence player and he’s starting to play well at the right time.

“Getting into the Ryder Cup team is one of his goals for the year and looking at the standings, it is still not beyond the bounds of probability that he could qualifying automatically with one big week.

“He has got a lot of experience with five Ryder Cups and if you look at the team and the players that are in the qualification spots now, we are short of a bit of experience so he would fit that bill.

“He says he is driving the ball well and anyone who is driving the ball good and long will have a big advantage this week because the rough a lot more demanding than it was last week.”