OPEN GOLF: Darren Clarke focus is on Ryder Cup but plans to enjoy weekend at Royal Troon

Darren Clarke during day two of The Open Championship
Darren Clarke during day two of The Open Championship

Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke briefly enjoyed playing again as he shot a second-round 72 to all but guarantee weekend action at the Open Championship.

The 2011 champion’s one-over-par effort took him to the same score for the tournament at the midway point at Royal Troon.

But for the 47-year-old, participating is merely a distraction from preparations from this autumn’s event at Hazeltine, with the clash against the United States never far from his mind.

The Northern Irishman said: “My priority is the Ryder Cup, not my own golf, but this is the biggest and best tournament in the world and I am proud and privileged to be part of the field.

“I love links golf. As much as I am not playing or practising as much as I would like to, when I get back onto links I can manage my way around because I have grown up doing it and will be doing it for a long time.I want to play well this weekend.

“But it will be interesting to see how some of the Ryder Cup contenders get on. The Ryder Cup is still more important right now.”