Take That, Monty!

Peter Dixon reports in the Times on Darren Clarke's anti-Monty act of sportsmanship.

Clarke, on six under par, had been leading the field by two strokes when play was called off on Sunday and he would have felt uneasy knowing that his ball was lying in deep rough after a wayward drive off the 9th tee. He knew that the slightest slip and a chasing pack that included Björn and Paul Casey would be ready to pounce.

On his return to the scene, however, Clarke found that the leprechauns had been at work overnight. Where once the ball had been buried, surrounded by long, wet grass, it now sat proudly on a good lie, with the surrounding grass flattened. The green had suddenly been brought within range.

Had it been done deliberately or by curious onlookers walking around the ball? Who knows? But as far as Clarke was concerned — having been told by the referee that he could play the ball as it lay — he had no intention of taking advantage of the situation.

For a recap on Colin Montgomerie's "Jakartagate" episode and the bad blood between Clarke and Monty, check out John Huggan's Golfobserver.com column from a few months back.

Meanwhile, here's Clarke explaining his move, with questions from the Mutual Admirat... the assembled scribblers:

Q. Talk about 9, you acted with incredible integrity?

DARREN CLARKE: That's part and parcel of the game. I had a lie when I went back out this morning, a lot of people had been looking for the ball and a lot of people had flattened the grass around it. It was a much better lie than what I left it yesterday. I come back to it and could have put it on to the front of the green if I had done, so just decided best thing to do, chip it out like I would have last night.

Q. You may not have won the Irish Open but you've won a lot of people's hearts; well done.
Who let Jimmy Roberts into the press room?