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Former winner Darren Clarke tips McIIroy for Open glory

London, Wednesday @Peoplesport11

Rory McIlroy turned to an old friend on the eve of The Open on Tuesday as he looks to end his alarming dip in form. Towards the end of a sublime day on the North West coast, he took to the links for a swift nine holes with fellow Northern Irishman Darren Clarke, a man who first saw him swing a club when he was barely nine years old. Clarke’s assessment? “He’s swinging the club wonderfully,” the former Ryder Cup captain told Sportsmail.

“He’s just going through one of those periods where he’s not holing any putts. But I love this one iron he’s put in the bag this week. It’s going like a bullet. I’m expecting him to get his season going again and have a very good week.”

McIlroy comes into The Open on the back of two missed cuts in events staged on links courses and has looked a disgruntled soul at times on the range. In a wise move, he approached Clarke a couple of days ago for a few holes and the latter eagerly accepted. “I don’t know if I can say anything to Rory these days given how well he swings the club,” said Clarke.

“But it is true that I do know his swing and we had a good time out there.” Clarke knows better than anyone that it is possible to dig yourself out of a very deep hole so close to the biggest event in the game.

How he came to win the 140th edition at Royal St George’s after arriving at the end of his tether has gone into Open legend. After missing the cut in the Scottish Open, he turned up at Sandwich more in the mood to quit the game than play in The Open.

Yet seven days later he was lifting the Claret Jug after finding the sort of spark McIlroy is looking for as he desperately seeks to get his season back on track. – AFP

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