In these ever-more judgmental times, perhaps it was inevitable. But barely two weeks after his thrilling and emotionally satisfying win at the British Open, Darren Clarke was forced to defend his admittedly and obviously inebriated behavior while celebrating that career-defining triumph.
*Clarke felt compelled to defend his post-Open behavior, but didn't apologize for it.
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"There's been a little bit of chat: 'He shouldn't have had a drink,' 'he shouldn't have done this,' 'he shouldn't have done that,'" said the 42-year-old Ulsterman on the eve of the Irish Open, his first competitive outing since winning at Royal St. George's. "I don't know, people need to get real. Look at what happened in Norway. I won a golf tournament and people are concerned about whether or not I had one pint too many? I mean, get a life. It is just sport. I drink a little too much, smoke a little bit too much and enjoy myself a little bit too much at times. It's the way I relax, and I don't intend to change that in any way shape or form."
How many pints of Guinness he consumed during his curtailed stay in County Kerry remains unconfirmed at this time, however.
-- John Huggan