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Sports News:
Clarke wins and he’s off to the bar, this time not by choice

Stop for those who’ve heard this one earlier than: Darren Clarke wins a giant match and spends the subsequent week at the bar.

It’s not totally by choice this time.

Clarke’s timing may not have been higher for his first PGA Tour Champions victory, and his first win since the British Open at Royal St. George’s in 2011. His visa has expired, and the COVID-19 pandemic has difficult the renewal course of. He mentioned his Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which was good for 90 days, expires on Wednesday.

“Consequently, I’ve got to leave the country,” Clarke mentioned Sunday after his one-shot victory in the TimberTech Championship in Boca Raton, Florida.

He’s not headed dwelling to Northern Ireland. No, the 52-year-old Clarke spends a good bit of time in the Bahamas, notably Abaco Club. And to be much more particular, Clarke mentioned he may very well be discovered at a seaside bar referred to as Flippers.

“Drink some Sea Breezes, watch the boys on the big screen up there,” Clarke mentioned. “When everybody makes a birdie, I’ll go cheer and have another Sea Breeze or a Kalik Light. It will be a little bit of both.”

Clarke is older and wiser – older, anyway – and says he gained’t drink it up fairly like he did 9 years in the past after profitable his solely main. He spoke extremely of the 50-and-older circuit the place it’s not so simple as displaying up and taking part in golf. Players are working onerous at it, and the contemporary expertise contains Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and often Phil Mickelson.

In an ideal world, Clarke says he would really like to be in Phoenix this week for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

“With all the COVID, all embassies are shut and as a non-U.S. citizen, you can only go to the embassy outside of the U.S. to get it renewed,” Clarke mentioned. “But they’re all shut due to COVID. Nobody’s fault.”

It helps that the closing official occasion of the yr gained’t determine the Schwab Cup champion. Because of tournaments misplaced to the pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 seasons are being mixed.

Instead, Clarke is off to the Bahamas. And he’s glad.

CAR CLUB

Xander Schauffele and Mark Hubbard have by no means been paired collectively on the PGA Tour. If they ever do, they’ll have lots to discuss, beginning with vehicles.

Old vehicles, and not essentially classics.

Schauffele, whose 5 worldwide victories embody the Tour Championship and a World Golf Championship, remains to be driving the 2015 Toyota Camry he had on the Korn Ferry Tour. And he doesn’t sound like he’s about to improve.

“I bought it out a couple of years ago. Why would I get a new car?” he mentioned.

That’s nothing in contrast with Hubbard, who remains to be driving his 2010 Honda CRV that used to belong to his mom.

“My man,” Schauffele mentioned with a giant smile when he heard this.

Hubbard says he’s by no means been massive into vehicles and isn’t dwelling sufficient, anyway. He and his spouse, Meghan, moved from San Jose, California, to Houston.

“I don’t spend money on things, I spend it on experiences, like vacations,” Hubbard mentioned. “I’m not a big toy guy.”

When they do drive, it’s often his automotive. His spouse drives a 2009 Nissan Sentra.

“We’re in the process of getting her a new car,” Hubbard mentioned with a smile.

His concept of a dream automotive? Hubbard says when he was youthful, he spent time with an amazing aunt who lived in the Hamptons.

“They had this no-top, white beach Jeep. You hop in, don’t even open the door,” he mentioned. “Something like that would be fun. But I obviously don’t really want that in Houston.”

STILL GOING STRONG

Bernhard Langer had two late bogeys that stored him from an opportunity at a forty second profession victory on the PGA Tour Champions. Even so, the resiliency of the 63-year-old German is not any much less outstanding. It was his thirty seventh runner-up end, which means Langer has gained or completed second in 29% of his PGA Tour Champions occasions.

If the 50-and-over circuit is the sport’s best mulligan, Langer is cashing in. He performed the majority of his PGA Tour profession earlier than prize cash started to soar.

Langer performed 322 occasions on the PGA Tour and earned $10,684,776.

In his 269 begins on the PGA Tour Champions, he has earned $30,055,112.

EUROPEAN TOUR

The European Tour fleshed out the again finish of a pandemic yr with a three-week South African swing forward of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

It begins with the Joburg Open on Nov. 19-22, every week after the Masters, earlier than going to the Dunhill Championship and the South African Open. The Dunhill and South African Open may have been performed twice in a single season. The South African Open will likely be held for the first time at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.

It wraps up a outstanding job by golf’s most international tour in the face of a pandemic.

The season was supposed to have 46 occasions. The tour misplaced 22 occasions however will finish the season with 37 tournaments thanks to a dozen additions in the U.Okay. and Iberia and even Cyprus. There was a big drop in prize cash, with most of the new occasions providing a handbag of not more than 1 million euros. But they had been taking part in greater than they might have.

WEEKEND MEMORIES

Every piece of expertise issues to Lanto Griffin, who defends his title this week in the Houston Open. He thought again to his rookie yr in 2018, when he discovered himself 4 pictures out of the lead going into the closing spherical at Torrey Pines.

“I was nervous. I was playing well,” he mentioned. “It was a whirlwind.”

The reminiscence is not how properly he stored his head in the sport. Griffin closed with a 74 on a troublesome day and tied for twelfth, 5 pictures out of the playoff gained by Jason Day. What makes him chortle is pondering of the response he had from dwelling.

That week was the PGA Tour return for Tiger Woods after his fourth again surgical procedure, the begin of a comeback that culminated with a victory at the Tour Championship later that yr. Woods teed off early on the again 9.

“I was fifth place with a few holes left and I ended up finishing 12th,” Griffin mentioned. “I hit some really good shots and I didn’t get on TV, and it was because Tiger was in 30th finishing on the front nine, and my whole family was all upset. I basically told them, ‘Look, I’d much rather watch Tiger finish 25th than me fifth.’ So I totally get it. But that was my first taste of the PGA Tour.”

DIVOTS

Even although the John Deere Classic was canceled this yr due to the pandemic, the match helped elevate $12.22 million for 465 native and regional charities. … Two-time main champion Stacy Lewis was amongst 10 gamers added to the 156-player subject for the U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston on Dec. 10-13. They had been taken off the LPGA Tour cash listing. … Diamond Resorts has signed a three-year contract extension as the title sponsor of the LPGA Tour season opener in Orlando, Florida. The Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions is Jan. 21-24. The extension takes the deal by way of 2024. … Brian Gay (No. 328) was the third participant in eight weeks of the new PGA Tour season to be exterior the prime 300 in the world when he gained. The others had been Stewart Cink (No. 319) and Hudson Swafford (No. 345).

STAT OF THE WEEK

In the seven tournaments Tiger Woods wherein made the lower this yr, he completed a mean of 15.1 pictures behind the winner.

FINAL WORD

“I have seen a few guys go to the Champions Tour and they seem to have a miraculous cure for their putting. I’m hoping that happens to me.” – Padraig Harrington, who turns 50 subsequent August.

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