Darren Clarke to make last European Tour appearance of season at The Open

Darren Clarke on the course during preview day one of The Open Championship 2018
Darren Clarke on the course during preview day one of The Open Championship 2018

Darren Clarke will make his last appearance of the season on the European Tour when he takes part in this week’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

The 49-year-old will jet across the Atlantic and join the Champions Tour, making his debut in Seattle next month.

The Dungannon-born Clarke will turn 50 on August 14 and move onto the senior circuit - something he is looking forward to.

But the former Open Champion is hoping he can have one last charge at a chance to win the Claret Jug at Carnoustie this week.

The Portrush golfer missed the cuts at both the Irish and Scottish Open in the past fortnight, but he would love to finish this part of his career by making it through to the third round this week.

“I haven’t played an awful lot of golf of late and it was nice to have true links course events like Ballyliffin and Gullane building up to Carnoustie this week,” he said ahead of contesting the 147th Open Championship.

“Carnoustie is hard, the hardest of the lot and while I played there in the ’99 Open (T30th) and in 2007 when Padraig (Harrington) won (Missed Cut), and played plenty of Dunhill Links rounds at Carnoustie, it is hard and the hardest of the lot. I think I shot 64 one time in the Dunhill and while it is a brilliant golf course, it’s difficult.”

“It will be a plus for the guys who played the Irish and Scottish heading to Carnoustie as Carnoustie is just as firm and hard as the courses have been these two weeks already.”

Clarke added: “Obviously, I teed it up wanting to play well and get some momentum but clearly my lack of competitive golf kills me a little bit at the moment as I made so many stupid mistakes last week and in Ballyliffin, so we’ll see.

Clarke indicated while becoming a ‘rookie’ on the US Champions Tour he may play the odd European Tour event in future.

“It will be a full schedule and it’s going to be interesting being a rookie again,” he smiled, adding:“The thing is also I have been 60/70 yards behind these young fellas out here for a long time so I need a change and I am looking forward to getting out there and playing again with all the guys I grew-up with when I first came out onto the European Tour.”

Defending champion Jordan Spieth is relishing the challenge posed by hard and fast conditions as he looks to become the first back-to-back winner of the Open for a decade.

Spieth gave his pre-event press conference before getting a first-hand look at Carnoustie, but has already heard plenty about the shape of the course from fellow competitors and caddie Michael Greller.