Bad timing sees Clarke lose out in World Cup

DARREN Clarke has admitted defeat in his bid to join Padraig Harrington as Ireland’s representatives in the World Cup in Seville on November 18-21.

Clarke and his manager Chubby Chandler could not reschedule a contractual engagement to Barclays Capital, the Irishman’s chief sponsor, in Japan on the week preceding the World Cup.

So Harrington will be partnered by Paul McGinley, as it has been since 1997 when the pair were crowned champions at Kiawah Island.

Having underlined how much he would have liked to partner Harrington and how he believed they would have had a great chance of winning, Clarke stressed last night: “When we sit down to draw up the schedule for next year, I will pencil in the World Cup if at all possible. It’s a world championship. I already have two and I want as many as I can get my hands on. It’s not as if Padraig will have any lesser a partner in Paul.

“I wouldn’t have been able to get to Seville from Japan until the day before the World Cup begins so that would hardly be the best preparation for such a big event.”

Clarke competes this week in the €3.5 million Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland and has decided to take in the Chrysler Championship over the Copperhead Course in Greensboro, North Carolina, on the US Tour next week.

He is anxious to qualify for the Tour Championship in Atlanta on November 4-7 and needs to be in the top 30 on the US money list to do so.

“I am currently 25th but there is every chance I will be overtaken by the end of the month if I don’t make at least another $100,000,” he said.

“I was going to the States on Monday next anyway for business reasons so it’s not as big a deal as it might sound.”

Clarke certainly has a hectic season- ending schedule lying in wait. It goes something like this:

October 7-10, Dunhill Links Championship, Fife, Scotland.

October 14-17, Chrysler Championship, North Carolina, USA.

October 28-31, Volvo Masters, Valderrama, Spain.

November 4-7, (US) Tour Championship, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

November 11-14, Visa Taiheiyo Masters, Tokyo, Japan.

November 25-28, Nelson Mandela charity tournament, Cape Town, South Africa. He will also visit Pinnacle Point, the course he is designing near Cape Town, with his father and course manager Godfrey and manager Chubby Chandler.

December 2-5, Nedbank Classic, Sun City, South Africa.

“And after all that, they might give me a few weeks’ holidays,” Clarke quipped.

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