Play like that and you’re in the team. Darren Clarke is congratulated by 2012 Ryder Cup skipper Jose Maria Olazabal after Sunday’s final round. Credit: Darren Clarke insists he can still win a major and win back his Ryder Cup place after snatching his first win for three years in Mallorca.

The Ulsterman, 42, leapt 36 spots to world No 88 thanks to his three-shot win at the Iberdrola Open.

Now just one win away from a return to the world’s top 50, he sees no reason why he can’t challenge for a place in the 2012 Ryder Cup team alongside Ulster stars Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, six years after his last appearance at the K Club.

Clarke roared: “It’s great to win again. With Rory and GMac doing as well as they have been it’s nice to sneak myself back into winner’s circle again.

“But I’ve still got an awful lot of things I want to do in the game. I want to start winning more frequently again and my swing’s getting better and better.

“Hopefully I can go on from there and start winning regularly again. I have just got to keep doing what I am doing and get better results.

“I used to be very consistent, week in week out and I have got to get that to get back into the top 50 again and if I do then I will be back playing in the tournaments that I want to play in.”

While he’s tipped as a potential Ryder Cup captain in the US in 2016, Clarke reckons he can still win a sixth cap under skipper Jose Maria Olazabal at Medinah near Chicago next year.

He said: “I still feel like I have a lot of golf left in me yet and if that’s the case I will be trying to qualify for the team.

“Ryder Cup captaincy is something you have got to be invited to do and hopefully at some stage I may get asked to do it.

“I would be privileged and honoured to be asked and hopefully I will have the opportunity to do it.

“But that’s a little bit in the distance yet so I want to try and make another team before I take on the captaincy role, if offered.”

Clarke took delight in proving his critics wrong and insisted that he never doubted his ability to win again.

He beamed: “It’s always nice to prove people wrong. I was frustrated that I wasn’t performing the way that I should be and in terms of doubting that I was going to win again, no.

“Golf is very fickle my it’s nature and a few things went my way yesterday and on the other side of the world, they went against GMac. That’s just the game, that’s the way it goes.”

As for that elusive major victory, he believes it’s not an impossible dream either.

He said: “I think my game is good enough. It’s a challenge but I have got to get into them first.

“I am in the Open and hopefully now in the US PGA as well but I have got to get into them to give myself an opportunity to do it.

“I’ve been up there and contended before and hopefully I will get myself back up there again.”

The Ulsterman was back in his adopted home town of Portrush yesterday after splashing out on the flight on drinks for every passenger on his flight back from Mallorca.

His next start is the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth next week, where he hopes to put on another champagne performance.