Born: August 14, 1968
Birthplace: Dungannon, Northern Ireland
Height: 6'2 1/2"
Weight: 215 lbs.
Turned Pro: 1990
Best known for his easy going attitude, Darren Clarke has gained the respect and admiration of golf fans worldwide. The big Irishman always seems to have a smile on his face and can often be seen puffing on his trademark stogey during and after rounds. I think he often reminds us golf fans of ourselves, going out to enjoy a friendly game of golf along with a couple of pints in the clubhouse afterwards.
After a successful amateur career in the late '80's Clarke's professional career really got started in 1993 when he won the Alfred Dunhill Open for his first pro victory. Since then Clarke has won twelve more times internationally. He is the only golfer other than Tiger Woods to have won more than one WGC Grand Slam event by capturing the 2000 Accenture Match Play Championship and the 2003 NEC Invitational and has been a stalwart for Team Europe in the last four Ryder Cup events.
A tremendous all-around talent, the only knock on Darren is that he doesn't seem to win as often as he should. His name is often near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon but he hasn't been able to seal the deal as often as I am sure he would like. Perhaps that will change with the new fitness regime that Darren implemented in 2003. He has trimmed down and is in better shape than ever, and when the Irishman does win his first Major he might get the confidence boost he needs to start piling up the victories.
PGA TOUR Victories
(2) 2000 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. 2003 WGC-NEC Invitational.
(11): 1993 Alfred Dunhill Open [Eur]. 1996 Linde German Masters [Eur]. 1998 Benson and Hedges International Open [Eur], Volvo Masters [Eur]. 1999 Compass Group English Open [Eur]. 2000 Compass Group English Open [Eur]. 2001 Dimension Data Pro-Am [SAf], The Chunichi Crowns [Jpn], Smurfit European Open [Eur]. 2002 Compass Group English Open. 2003 Northern Ireland Masters [EurChall]. 2004 Visa Taiheiyo Masters [Jpn].
Darren Clarke is one of the many tour players signed to an equipment contract with Taylor Made. While most of his stuff seems pretty standard, it is all tweaked and tuned to make it just a little different.
Darren has been carrying the Taylor Made 510 Tour Preferred driver for a couple of years now. He uses the 8.5 degree head but the loft has been tweaked to 8.75 degrees. The driver is fitted with a Graphite Design YS-9 shaft. This is a heavy graphite shaft that weighs about 95 grams and Darren has it ¼" longer than standard. The driver comes out at a heavy D6 swingweight that Darren says he likes because it helps him feel the head.
You will find two fairway woods in the bag for Darren. He has a 15 degree V-Steel bent to 13.5 degrees. He also carries a Taylor Made Tour 200 Steel bent from 15 to 17 degrees for the larger head. Both clubs have the Graphite Design Purple Ice 85 graphite shafts X-flex.
Darren uses the Taylor Made RAC Combo 25th Anniversary irons. These are different than the RAC Combo sets seen in stores. The longer irons feature a slightly larger cavity than the store-bought set with a lower center of gravity. Also unlike the retail set, Darren's combo set is forged all the way through including the PW. Shafts are Royal Precision High Steel 7.2's and are also ¼" overlength. Darren has the long irons bent 3 degrees upright to help him draw the ball and the short irons bent 1 degree flat for more of a left-to-right ball flight. He normally carries 3-PW but will sometimes take the 3-iron out to add another wedge.
Wedges are a little different. Clarke carries the Taylor Made RAC Black wedges in 50, 54, and 58 degrees with extra bounce added. These have a cast head with the black or gunmetal finish to them. It is a very similar wedge to the Cleveland 588. Darren keeps the stock Dynamic Gold shafts in them.
The Scotty Cameron Red X center shaft putter found its way into Darren's bag last year and has been a permanent fixture ever since. His putting jumped to 13th on the PGA Tour in 2004 from about 80th in 2003 so expect this putter to stay with him for some time.
Darren plays the lower spinning ProV1X golf ball.