British Open champion Darren Clarke has recovered from a groin injury and will take his place in this week’s Irish Open field.
Clarke vowed recently he would use a zimmer frame it it meant teeing up on the course within a drive and chip shot from his new family home.
The Irishman was forced out of last fortnight’s U.S. Open struggling with a groin injury but the fortnight’s break from competition will now allow Clarke to take his place in the Royal Portrush field.
“While disappointed not to have competed in the U.S. Open, the rest has done Darren well and he’ll be right for the Irish Open and then leading into his defence of the Open Championship,” said a representative with Clarke’s ISM management team.
The injury first flared during the Shell Houston Open in March and Clarke battled with the concern through the following week’s Masters at Augusta.
Clarke will be making his 20th appearance in the Irish Open since his debut in 1991 at Killarney.
His best finish was joint second along with fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington in 2001 Irish Open at Fota Island in Cork.
Clarke will be among eight Major Champions competing at Royal Portrush and in the first Irish Open to be staged in Northern Ireland since 1953.
They include fellow British Open winners Paul Lawrie and John Daly along with U.S. Open winners Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Michael Campbell plus PGSA champions Rich Beem and last year’s winner, Keegan Bradley.
Also in the field is Northern Ireland’s newest golfing sensation Alan Dunbar who captured yesterday’s (SAT) 117th British Amateur Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland.
It will be Dunbar’s third straight Irish Open and with the 23-year looking to make the cut for a first occasion.