New-look Clarke shines at Volvo Champions

Former Open champion has lost three stone

Charlie Lemay's picture
Fri, 10 Jan 2014
New-look Clarke shines at Volvo Champions

A new-look Darren Clarke turned up at the Volvo Champions this week and all his hard work in the gym paid dividends for the former Open champion.

The Northern Irishman is known to have enjoyed the odd pint of Guinness in his time but the 45-year-old has joined millions around the UK in a diet for 2014.

Spectators and players were having to double-take as Clarke walked passed them in Durban as he has shed over three stone recently.

His last victory came at the Open at Sandwich, over two years ago, but his new physique is improving his golf as he finished his first round on three-under-par, two off leader Raphael Jacquelin.

"My objectives are getting back to playing some of the golf I know I can play," said Clarke. "I have had a frustrating last couple of years where I have not played that badly but made stupid mistakes.

"I took a look at myself in October and thought I was getting too fat, too heavy, too lethargic and decided to do something about it. I spend a lot of time in the gym doing heavy weights, no cardio, and changed my diet and hopefully I will reap the benefits.

"I plan to keep doing what I am doing if not necessarily losing any more weight, maybe get stronger and stronger. I hit a drive on the 10th (yesterday) of 300 yards back into the wind and another driver from 285 yards to 12 feet. I couldn't have done that maybe five or six months ago."

He added: "I have a trainer in Dublin who shouts at me and I shout back and it seems to be working. It's a regime change but not too drastic, I still squeezed in a pint or two over Christmas.”

Clarke has almost eliminated sugar and carbohydrates from his diet but added: "I have not gone totally over to the dark side."