seamus dubhghaill

Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA


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Birth of Professional Golfer Darren Clarke

Darren Christopher Clarke, professional golfer who currently plays on the PGA Tour Champions and has previously played on the European Tour and PGA Tour, is born in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland on August 14, 1968.

In 1987 Clarke plays collegiate golf at Wake Forest University in the United States. He is a junior member of Dungannon Golf Club, whose junior section also includes three others who are current PGA Golf Professionals: Alistair Cardwell, Barry Hamill and Gary Chambers. He represents his school, Royal School Dungannon, together with Cardwell and Chambers.

A stalwart of the European Tour since 1991, Clarke is no stranger to firsts. In the 1999 Smurfit European Open he becomes the first player on the European Tour to shoot 60 for a second time, having achieved it first in the 1992 European Monte Carlo Open. In 2002 he becomes the first player to win the English Open three times and in 2003 becomes the first player outside Tiger Woods to capture more than one World Golf Championships title.

Three weeks after the untimely death of his wife, Heather, to cancer in August 2006, Clarke is picked as one of the wild cards for the Ryder Cup at K Club. In an emotionally charged week he produces one of his most memorable performances, winning all three of his matches.

Clarke assures his place in history by earning a place in the renowned ‘Who’s Who‘ guide for 2008, and in 2005 he even appears on an Irish postage stamp. A difficult 2007, where he juggles looking after his two sons with his golf regime, sees him slip down the rankings, but he begins to find his form again in South Africa before the winter break.

In 2008 Clarke wins the BMW Asian Open in China and the KLM Open in the Netherlands where his sons Tyrone and Conor are there to witness his victory.

In 2010 Clarke beats a world-class field in the J. P. McManus Invitational Pro-Am at Adare Manor in Ireland where he has a one shot victory over Luke Donald. He secures his spot in the 139th Open Championship at the Old Course at St. Andrews by finishing second in the Barclays Scottish Open. He finishes 30th in the European Tour Race. He rounds off 2010 in great style with the announcement of his engagement to Alison Campbell.

Clarke begins 2011 with a victory in the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca but he enjoys his finest hour in July when he claims his maiden major championship, winning the 140th Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Kent by three shots over Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.

In April 2012 Clarke and Alison Campbell are married at Abaco in The Bahamas which marks a very happy new chapter for the Clarke family. He is appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to golf.

In February 2015, Clarke is named as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain and dedicates the next 18 months to the role. Ultimately, Europe is beaten 17-11 by the United States at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

A dedicated worker for charity, Clarke sets up his own Darren Clarke Foundation, which not only helps further the development of junior golf in Ireland, but also now raises money for Breast Cancer Awareness.


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Padraig Harrington Wins the 2007 Open Championship

padraig-harringtonPadraig Harrington of Dublin becomes the first Irish golfer to win the British Open in 60 years on July 22, 2007, when he snatches victory from the jaws of defeat at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland.

At the 2007 Open Championship, Harrington defeats Sergio García in a four-hole playoff at Carnoustie, becoming the first Irishman to win The Open Championship in 60 years, and the first ever from the Republic of Ireland. Both players go into the playoff having shot a 7-under 277 for the championship. Harrington subsequently wins by one stroke in the playoff.

Harrington is the first European golfer to secure a major victory since Paul Lawrie on the same course in 1999 and Ireland’s first since Fred Daly in 1947. President Mary McAleese is the first to convey her congratulations to Harrington, while Labour sports spokesman Jack Wall says, “Padraig Harrington’s magnificent victory in the Open without doubt represents one of the greatest days in the history of Irish sport.”

A year later at the 2008 Open Championship, it is unclear if he would get a chance to defend his Open title at Royal Birkdale Golf Club as eight days prior to the event he injures his wrist. However, Harrington successfully defends his title, overcoming a 2-shot deficit to Greg Norman with a final round 69. He shoots a four-under-par 32 on the back nine, which enables him to pull away from Norman and Ian Poulter. His eagle on the par-5 17th all but seals the tournament. He is the first European golfer since James Braid in 1906 to retain the Claret Jug. The win moves him from fourteenth to third in the world rankings, behind only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Just three weeks after winning the 2008 Open Championship, Harrington wins the PGA Championship over the South Course of the Oakland Hills Country Club, for his third major. Although at five over par after two rounds, he shoots eight under par for the weekend, carding successive scores of 66 in both the third and fourth rounds. His three under par 277 is two shots ahead of Sergio García and Ben Curtis. Harrington becomes the first European to win the PGA Championship since Tommy Armour in 1930, and is the first winner from Ireland.

Harrington’s victory in the PGA Championship secures his position as the number one player in Europe, earning him a spot in the 2008 European Ryder Cup team under captain Nick Faldo.