Clarke cautious over 2006 plans

Darren Clarke – first, second and second in his last three events of 2005 – is still taking it day-by-day as he heads into the new season.

Darren Clarke – first, second and second in his last three events of 2005 – is still taking it day-by-day as he heads into the new season.

Clarke’s wife Heather is currently undergoing intensive chemotherapy again as she continues her battle against cancer.

“She’s doing okay at the minute, but I can still make only a tentative schedule,” said the Ulsterman, who plans to return to action at the Qatar Masters in two weeks’ time.

“I would love to think I will be playing a full schedule but I don’t want to get ahead of myself and get my hopes up.”

Clarke won the Visa Taiheiyo Masters in Japan in November, then lost a play-off to Jim Furyk in the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa and was runner-up to Luke Donald at the Target World Challenge in California.

“I was disappointed there because I hit some poor shots down the stretch, but before that my game had been pretty sharp,” he said.

“I worked on a few things with (coach) Pete Cowen that I’ve been trying to sort out over the winter and hopefully that will pay off.”

Because of the tournaments he missed last year to spend more time at home, Clarke is lagging behind in the Ryder Cup race.

He is 11th on the world points list, from which the first five places will be decided, but down in 36th spot in the European standings.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Discover the

Install our free app today

Available on

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox