The biggest beneficiaries there were the country’s kids because every Euro of his prize money went to the Darren Clarke Foundation, which gives opportunity and equipment to children who may not otherwise have had the chance to play the game.
Even though the event was Challenge Tour rather than the main event, Darren was putting his reputation on the line for the four days. Thousands flocked to see him and they all expected him to win. Expectations do not always materialise, but Darren delivered - admitting afterwards that there were just as many nerves coming down the stretch as there would have been had he been facing Tiger Woods and Co.
Darren even took time out on Saturday evening to attend the Harp Belfast Giants ice hockey match and was very well received when he presented the man of the match award.
Over in Paris, Paul almost made it back-to-back wins when he finished second behind Retief Goosen at the final Lancome Trophy. David Howell and Carlos Rodiles also made the top ten while Simon Wakefield’s 13th place cheque ensured he will be operating again on the main tour next year. Lancome have been magnificent sponsors for many years and it will seem strange not to see their name involved next season.
Whether or not Ian Garbutt and Simon Dyson will enjoy the same luxury has still to be determined. I must confess that I am surprised that two players of their ability are still fighting for their playing privileges at this stage of the season. All is far from lost, however, and I am sure they will both come good as the season heads deeper into the back nine.
I brought my own game out of the loft this week to play in the pro-am for our Seniors Tour event in Spain. I had a wonderful day in the company of Carl Mason, my old running mate from our days on Tour and Andy Stubbs, another former player who now does a wonderful job looking after the Seniors Tour.
The company was far better than my golf for I felt oblige to text my Dunhill Links partner, a certain Mr Westwood with details of my progress. The details included my first par on the fifth; five chips on the seventh and an outward half of about 50 strokes. I also texted him about my birdie-net-eagle putt at the start of the back nine and back came the reply: ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’.
Watch this space next week when Westwood and Chandler take on St. Andrews together in the Dunhill Links.