Darren Clarke appears to have heeded the wishes of his long-time agent Chubby Chandler by opting to rejoin the PGA Tour next season.
Chandler indicated during the Masters that Clarke needed to take advantage of his five year exemption for winning The Open in 2011 and with that set to expire at the end of 2016, he’s making the move next season according to a report by AP’s Doug Ferguson.
Speaking at Augusta National last April, ISM boss Chandler said: “I think he might well take up his PGA Tour membership up next year. What he would have played in compared to what he has played? It’s just so different.
“He’s played the Tshwane Open in India [South Africa] and he has a full exemption in the US. He could have played events like the Honda or San Diego and he doesn’t have to move to the US either.
“He can do it in two or three-week spells and still have a base at Old Palm in Florida or even at Grand Abaco in the Bahamas, which is his favourite place in the world and only 40 minutes from West Palm Beach.
“I think it would be great for him and give him a new lease of life and it’s what I wanted him to do this year.
“It must be soul-destroying for him to get on a practice tee in Europe with a whole load of young lads from Iceland and Finland. It’s a hard thing. At least here over here he knows the guys and they all know him. Guys like Rickie Fowler…”
According to AP:
“Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark also will join based on having enough money or FedExCup points equal to the top 125. Meanwhile, former Masters champion Mike Weir, Stephen Ames, Fred Funk and Mark Calcavecchia are using their one-time exemption from being in the top 50 in career money. Robert Allenby and Scott Verplank are using one-time exemptions from the top 25 in career money.”
According to Bernie McGuire at Golfbytourmiss.com, Olesen will not be taking up the option to join the PGA Tour.