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August 2 2011

9:18 PM

Clarke enjoying British Open reign

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

AKRON, Ohio -- Darren Clarke is still getting used to being the "Champion Golfer of the Year." Make no mistake, though, he's loving every minute of his  reign as the British Open champion.

"There's been lots of 'well dones and handshakes and stuff like that, but (they) probably still think I'm a fat so-and-so who likes to have a good time, but that's fine with me," Clarke said Tuesday. 

Clarke said he hasn't had much time to reflect on what he did at Royal St. George's last month. But when he missed the cut at last week's Irish Open -- the first time he was introduced on the first tee as the British Open champion -- Clarke spent some time at his home at Royal Portrush going through his mail.

"There was some very meaningful notes there, one from Jack and one from Arnie and from the Prime Minister and the President of Ireland, all sorts of really, really nice notes," Clarke said, at the same time declining to reveal the what the golf legends wrote. "So that was really cool."

And if you're wondering whether there's been any of that dark brown stout in the Claret Jug -- don't. The fun-loving Irishman, who plays in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, has too much respect for the trophy.
 
"To tell you the truth, there's been absolutely nothing in the Claret Jug," Clarke said. "There has not been a drink in it. When it comes to things, I thought I could, but when I got my hands on it, I'm a little bit of a traditionalist and I didn't think it would be right to put anything in there. 

"I'm not saying I won't, but at this stage -- maybe Christmas dinner or Christmas lunch I might have a little bit of Claret in there, but so far there's been nothing in there."

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