Clarke joins Seve, Faldo and Jacklin with PGA honour

Open champion Darren Clarke will follow in the footsteps of Nick Faldo, Tony Jackling and the late Seve Ballesteros when he is honoured with the PGA Recognition Award in December.

The Ulsterman, who triumphed at Royal St George’s last week, will receive the award at the PGA’s Annual Luncheon fundraiser in London on Friday, December 16 at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

Like previous Claret Jug winners Faldo, Jacklin and Ballesteros, he has been chosen for the honour in celebration of his outstanding contribution to the world of golf.

The lunch in honour of Clarke, which will see money raised from the event supporting the PGA Benevolent Fund, is one of four the PGA is hosting with others in Scotland and Manchester plus an inaugural one in Leeds.

“We had invited Darren to accept this award long before his Open triumph because he had already made an immense contribution to golf,” said PGA chief executive Sandy Jones.

“The fact he has subsequently gone on to lift the Claret Jug is testimony to the great talent he possesses and, on behalf of the PGA and our members, I would like to congratulate Darren on his brilliant win because I think the whole world of golf was rooting for him.

“It is an unbelievable run of success for Northern Ireland to have three major winners in quick succession bearing in mind that Fred Daly was the last one prior to that back in 1947, so we are privileged and honoured that he has accepted this award.”

Clarke’s impressive career includes five successive Ryder Cup appearances from 1997, including being on the winning side four times.

In 2003 he became the first player, apart from Tiger Woods, to capture more than one World Golf Championship title.

Meanwhile, former Open rivals Paul Lawrie and Jean Van de Velde, who fought it out for the Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 1999, reunite at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow, on Wednesday, December 14.

Former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher is the guest of honour at the Hilton Hotel, Manchester, on Wednesday, December 7, with the BBC’s Voice of Golf Peter Alliss the special guest at the inaugural lunch at the Queens Hotel in Leeds on Thursday, December 8.