Golfing pro Darren Clarke is gearing up for the Irish Open at the end of this month. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the British Open champion said he is busy preparing for the Royal Portrush tournament.

“I am doing everything I can to be ready for the Irish Open here,” he said. “I've pulled out of the US Open to give myself time to recover from the groin injury which has been niggling me for some time.”

“I’ve still got four weeks so hopefully the groin will have cleared up by then anyway.”

“But I would even play in a Zimmer frame if it was necessary, it's that important to me.”

Clarke has played a vital role in bringing the Irish Open north of the border for the first time in more than half a century.

“This is a major stepping stone towards getting the Open back to Royal Portrush.

“I've been playing around here since I was 11 years old when my dad used to bring me up in the evenings to play when the green fees were cheaper,” he said.

 “It's not the easiest place to get people around but I have no doubt that the Irish Open will be a huge success and that the R&A [The Royal and Ancient Golf Club] will be very aware of how the tournament is run.”

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