SEVILLE, Spain – Darren Clarke had to hire a private jet to make his tee time for the third round of the Spanish Open, returning from England after realizing he had made the cut.
Clarke shot a par 72 Saturday at the Real Golf Club de Seville, teeing off at 8:45 a.m. local time after being up most of the night.
Believing he had missed the cut, Clarke flew to his home in Surrey on a commercial flight. No sooner had he begun to relax with his two sons than Clarke received a series of phone calls telling him that his 69 Friday left him at 144, good enough to play on the weekend.
The player from Northern Ireland attempted to catch a flight from London’s Gatwick airport, only to miss it after becoming caught in traffic. A private jet was located at Oxford airport, and he was able to depart at 2 a.m. Saturday on a flight to Malaga. He then had a two-hour drive to Seville.
“I had just 53 minutes sleep before I had to get up and go to the course,” Clarke said. “But it would have been unprofessional of me not to make an attempt to get back, given all the hard work off the sponsors and officials to lay on such a good tournament this weekend.
“I have left tournaments before thinking I had missed the cut, but only ever got as far as an airport before being recalled.”
Clarke didn’t give the exact details of his costly mistake.
“It was cheap to fly back home on a scheduled plane and extortionate to get back here,” he said. “I felt pretty tired at times but finished birdie-par-birdie, which was good.”