Clarke to Return to Competition


2005 Smurfit European OpenDarren Clarke will return to play next week at the Smurfit European Open after spending the past three weeks with his wife, Heather, who is recuperating from cancer.
Clarke, who withdrew from the BMW Championship at Wentworth Club after the second round and missed last week's U.S. Open Championship, has entered the Smurfit European Open at The K Club in Straffan, Co. Kildare from June 30 - July 3.
'Heather is thankfully out of hospital now and her progress is such that we felt the time was right for me to return,' said Clarke.
'Heather has been boosted by get-well cards and messages of support plus the wonderful care and attention received at The Royal Brompton Hospital. We can't thank everybody enough,' he added.
Clarke has not mapped out a long-term schedule and will continue to assess the situation on a weekly basis. 'It will be good to get back, and particularly in Ireland at a course and tournament I have always enjoyed playing,' he said.
The K Club has been a happy hunting ground for Clarke, who established the course record of 60 in 1999, then became the first Irishman to win on home soil since 1982 when he captured the title two years later.
Clarke joins fellow Irish Ryder Cup heroes, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, in the 2005 event, which affords one final opportunity for potential Ryder Cup players to play The K Club's Palmer Course before it stages the biennial event in September 2006.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Smurfit European Open
  • Player Bio - Darren Clarke