A golfer loved for his courage and charisma, Darren Clarke has the crowds behind him.
They know he is a warm, funny raconteur who likes a Guinness, who both works hard and plays hard. More important, they know that this man pulled himself up by his bootstraps, having lost his wife Heather to cancer, to triumph at the 2006 Ryder Cup.
Just days before the start of the 2011 Open at Royal St George's, Darren's game had once again deserted him, leaving him 'putting like a man with blurred vision'. A month before his 43rd birthday he was not in a good place. But Heather was 'watching from above', the crowd were roaring him on, golf guru Dr Bob Rotella was telling him to 'go unconscious' - and something sparked inside him. The rest is golfing history.
Born in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, Darren caddied for his golf course greenkeeper father, turning pro in 1990. He has played in four victorious Ryder Cup sides and beat his close friend Tiger Woods in the 36-hole final of the 2000 WGC-Andersen Consulting Match Play. In 2002 he became the only player to win the English Open three times.
In An Open Book he speaks candidly about fellow-players, coaches and golfing psychologists; about how he was bullied at school, narrowly missed and IRA bomb and eventually set up a foundation to develop junior golf in Ireland; and about how he found personal happiness again, marrying Alison Campbell in April 2012. Most vividly of all, he takes the reader down those rainswept fairways to the ecstasy of that final putt when, at his 20th attempt, he lifted the silver claret jug.