Old dog Darren Clarke wants to show the “young pups” he can still play by grabbing this week’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf - and another major.
The Open champion, 43, is the oldest of the four major winners chasing a $600,000 (€432,00) payday in a 36-hole strokeplay battle in Bermuda today and tomorrow.
Masters champ Charl Schwartzel (27), US Open winner Rory McIlroy (22) and US PGA holder Keegan Bradley (25) complete a quartet of first time major winners.
But grey-haired Clarke believes he has the experience to become the first Irishman to win the title and avenge defeats for Padraig Harrington (second in 2007 and 2008) and Graeme McDowell (tied third last year) before going on to win another major next season.
“I am the oldest in the field by some distance so there is an extra incentive to show these talented young pups the value of experience,” said Clarke, who made no secret of his ambition to win another major and return to Bermuda next year.
Patience might not be Clarke’s strongest suit but he banked on 21 years of tour experience to make his dreams come true this term.
Believing his improved mental game made all the difference, Clarke said: “There were times when I would be asking myself ‘what am I doing here?’.
“Golf is as much a mind game as a technical discipline. I was struggling a bit earlier in the summer and did some work with the great sports psychologist Bob Rotella.
“A couple of weeks later I won in Majorca. At the Open I didn’t know when a putt would drop so at the start of the week Bob and I got together and hey presto I ended up with the Claret Jug.
“It sounds simple but sometimes you just need to find the trigger and everything turns around. That’s golf.”
Clarke hardly dared to believe he could win the Open at the age of 43.
But after admitting recently that it was hard to find new goals after achieving his golfing dream, he’s already got a new target - another major win.
Clarke said: “I don’t think there is a man alive who would consider coming to Bermuda a chore.
“Winning the Open Championship brings with it certain privileges, one of which is making scheduling an awful lot easier.
“We pretty much know where we are heading next year. Hopefully it will include a few days in Bermuda next October.”
It’s no wonder he’s keen to get back.
The cash incentives are huge with $600,000 for the winner, $300,000 for second, $250,000 for third and $200,000 for last place.
Clarke and McIlroy are bidding to end a 20-year European drought in the PGA Grand Slam at Port Royal Golf Course. Only one European has managed to win the trophy, Ian Woosnam in 1991.