Clarke inspired by quote from the Pope

Open champion Darren Clarke was inspired to victory by The Pope.

But that’s not the head of the Roman Catholic Church but American football legend Vince Lombardi who died 41 years ago.

Psychologist Dr Bob Rotella pummelled Clarke with positive messages all week, urging him to be trust his game and play with a free mind.

But it took some magic words from the iconic 1960s Green Bay Packers coach - nicknamed the Pope because he was so religious - to make Dazza a dazzler.

Rotella said: “I gave him a line from Vince Lombardi, one of our great coaches, long dead now: ‘Fatigue makes cowards of us all.’

“You’re working so hard, by the time a tournament starts you’re exhausted.

“So he put that on his phone, saying ‘Gee I’ve never heard that one before’. I said you can’t deal with stuff if you are over-tired.”

Clarke had just a few glasses of wine in the evening to make sure he stayed fresh and alert.

As a result he was brilliant mentally all week and confessed that it was the key to his first major win.

He said: “Sometimes that side of the game comes very easy to me and most of the time it comes very difficult to me and this week I was very relaxed.

“I was very trusting in my golf swing and a couple of things went my way and here I am.”

Rotella knew that Clarke was ready to finish the job on Sunday morning when he saw the big Ulsterman’s wide grin.

Rotella said: “As I  was waiting on the putting green, I saw him walk in and signing every autograph with that big grin on his face and I was like ‘oh beautiful’.

“He came over and high-fived me. We started talking and he was in such a good mood and that’s important because when he’s happy, he’s unconscious.

“When he gets serious he starts thinking.  All we really just tried to do was to get him to not think all week and he managed it really, really well.”