I haven't seen anything suggesting that Darren Clarke's post-Open Championship celebrations were anything but expected, yet the Northern Irishman was a wee bit cranky on the eve of the Irish Open, sending out a message to his critics...whoever they may be.
James Corrigan previews the Irish Open and reports:
"I drink a little bit too much, smoke a little bit too much and enjoy myself a little bit too much at times," declared Clarke yesterday. "It's the way I relax and I don't intend to change that in any way shape or form."
Thank goodness for that; or so will say all those who admired this Everyman's waddle to destiny at Royal St George's two weekends ago, lifting the Claret Jug at the 20th time of trying. Yet while Clarke's euphoric receipt of a long written-off major was toasted in Britain, on his home island the reaction to his excess has triggered a debate. Indeed, the negativity which greeted his marathon celebrations was the one thing which surprised him in the aftermath.
"There's been a little bit of chat about – 'he shouldn't have had a drink', 'he shouldn't have done this', 'he shouldn't have done that'," said Clarke. "I don't know, people need to get real. Look what happened in Norway over the weekend. I won a golf tournament and people are concerned about whether or not I had one pint too many?I mean, get a life. It's just sport."
Clarke's bemusement is understandable. "There's been phone-ins, radio shows, newspaper articles," he said, perplexity ringing out from every tone. "I think it would be very poor of me if I was to change the way that I am because of a few people's opinions. And that's not going to happen."