Friday, 2 December 2011

Rory McIlroy or Darren Clarke - Who's Had A Better...

By Daniel P from

The year 2011 has, without a doubt, been Northern Ireland's best for golfing triumphs. Darren Clarke's success at the British Open and Rory Mcilroy's US Open victory were the highlights of this great year. Both are nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011.

Little wonder that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, has expressed his support for the region to host the Open: "As well as world-class golfers there are world-class golf courses in Northern Ireland and It would be great to see the Open played here" Over 150,000 people are members of golf clubs in Northern Ireland and anyone one of them could become the next Clarke or Mcilroy. But who's had the better year? That's the question we'll be answering in this article.

At the age of 43, Darren Clarke is the older of the two golfers. He's a golfing veteran, having started his career playing collegiate golf for Wake Forest University in the US and went professional in 1990.

Like Mcilroy, he was a promising young golfer set to make his mark. He finished joint 64th at the 1991 British Open and came second at the 1992 Honda Open. He won his first European Tour in 1993 and again in 1996.

In 2000, he defeated Tiger Woods at the World Golf Championship and won another European Tour in 2001. However, 2004 - 2007 proved to be his most difficult years; a combination of personal difficulties and a loss of form led to a slump in success.

2008 saw a resurgent Clarke winning the BMW Asian Open and coming second in the 2010 Joburg Open. 2011's British Open win was the icing on the cake for this golfer's long and distinguished career. He had tried to win it for over 20 years and it was a well deserved success.

Clarke proved that older golfers can still make their mark. You don't have to be a Mcilroy, Woods or Day. For that reason, it could be argued Clarke has had the better year.

The argument might have swung in favour of Clarke were it not for his young rival, Rory Mcilroy. Often compared to Tiger Woods, he turned professional at just 17. He made a name for himself with successes on the European circuit, winning at the Madrid Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Victories at the 2009 US Open and 2010 Quail Hollow Championship cemented his reputation further.

It was in 2011 that Mcilroy really made his mark. At 22, he was the youngest player to win the US Open since Tiger Woods' 1997 victory. His 268 aggregate score was the highest US Open record yet, beating records set by Jack Nicklaus, Lee Janzen, Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.

Further success came with a win at the Shanghai Master's, taking home the $2 million prize and a fourth-place finish at the WGC Champions tournament.

This success at such a young age shows that Mcilroy has had the better year. More success is to come and he could eclipse Woods as the best golfer of his generation.

A Sports Personality of the Year win would help re-affirm his talent as one of the best golfers in the world.

Who has had the better year? Veteran Clarke or young gun Mcilroy?

Whilst Clarke's British Open win was the pinnacle of a long and distinguished career, Mcilroy's record beating US Open victory at the tender age of 22 makes it the better year for him in my opinion. Best Blogger Tips
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