MASHPEE, Mass. — Darren Clarke looked to the heavens as a deft chip shot rolled over the edge of the cup, settling close enough to tap in for a birdie after a prodigious drive left him greenside on the Bay course at Willowbend CC.
It's not every day that you get to play golf with a major winner, but my day at Willowbend CC was not like every other day, as I was fortunate to play six holes with the 2011 winner of the Open Championship.
Clarke, from Northern Ireland, was in town as the ambassador of The Abaco Club in the Bahamas. Abaco is owned and operated by Southworth Development, which also owns Willowbend CC and other courses around the world, including Renaissance Club (Haverhill, Mass.).
At 55 years old, Clarke loves the game as much as he' ever has. As we had lunch with Clarke, he lamented his close call at the Ally Challenge in Detriot on the previous Sunday; a double-bogey on the 17th hole sealed his fate. He said it left him upset enough to have a silent drive to the airport with his wife.