Darren Clarke admits it would be a dream come true if he can add The Irish Open presented by Discover Ireland title this week to his emotional Open Championship victory a fortnight ago.
Clarke returns to action at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club for the first time since his remarkable success at Royal St George’s hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington, who held both titles back in summer 2007, and Sir Nick Faldo who achieved the double back in 1992.
The Ulsterman was runner up to Colin Montgomerie in the Irish Open at Fota Island in 2001 and third in 2006 when Thomas Björn was champion at Carton House Golf Club but after the huge confidence boost of lifting the Claret Jug he is hoping to complete a fairytale double.
“I would love to the double and win the Irish Open after winning at Sandwich,” said Clarke. “I’ve been close on a number of occasions and never quite got the job done – a bit like in The Open you could say.
“It would be a hell of an achievement - a dream come true - to have The Open and Irish Open trophies on display back at home. It has already been an amazing month for me and to do the double would be unbelievable.
“I’ll be trying my best to do it and I’m sure the home support will help me along the way.”
Clarke, who is assured of a hero’s homecoming in Co. Kerry this week, has previously enjoyed success on home soil in the 2001 European Open at The K Club, the venue where he was also pivotal in Europe’s Ryder Cup success in 2006.
He is one of four Irish Major winners in the field this week, joining Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, the US Open Champion who like Clarke is playing in Ireland for the first time since winning his maiden Major Championship.