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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 September 2006, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Tearful Clarke revels in triumph
Darren Clarke and Ian Woosnam shared emotional scenes at the end
Being part of this team has done a lot for me

Darren Clarke
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke broke down in tears after sealing a fairytale Ryder Cup appearance with a 3&2 singles defeat of Zach Johnson.

It was the third win out of three for Clarke, playing in only his second tournament since the death of his wife Heather from cancer last month.

Europe had already sealed a record third consecutive victory, when Clarke holed his final putt on the 16th.

"This is as good as it gets," said Clarke after putting Europe 16-8 ahead.

The wildcard was embraced by captain Ian Woosnam and US star Tiger Woods at the end of an emotional time at the K Club.

"There are too many memories for me to list," added Clarke.

"But my team have been unbelievable all week, so have the American guys, their wives and the crowd - their support has been incredible."

RYDER CUP BLOG
BBC Sport's Matt Slater at the K Club
"Being part of this team has done a lot for me and for people who have shown how much they care about me and Heather."

Clarke birdied the fifth and Johnson the next, but the American missed a seven-footer at the sixth to hand the advantage back.

A par four was enough at the seventh for Clarke and a 25-foot birdie put him three up at the 10th.

An incredible chip from 70 feet increased the advantage further at 12 but he missed a four-footer at the next.

It mattered little as Johnson generously conceded a four-foot putt at the 16th and sparked emotional scenes for Clarke, who is now rated favourite by bookmakers to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Tiger Woods embraces Darren Clarke
Darren being here was inspiration itself

Tiger Woods
"It's been a difficult week but the moment I got here I was determined to get myself ready - and I did," he said.

Clarke described Woosnam as "a fantastic captain".

He added: "He's been wonderfully supportive to me and all the team. Look at the scoreboard - that says everything about the captain."

US captain Tom Lehman paid tribute to the impact Clarke had on the event, saying in his closing speech: "Darren, you hurt us really bad, but we're so glad you were on this team.

Tiger Woods, who lost his father Earl to cancer earlier this year, also praised his performance, which saw Clarke collect a maximum three points from three appearances.

"Darren being here was inspiration itself and his play was remarkable," said the world number one.

As the victory celebrations got into full swing, Clarke appeared on the club balcony and downed a pint of Guinness in one, a feat then repeated by Woosnam.

The players, who threw shoes, caps and sweaters into the crowd, joined the fans in singing 'Fields of Athenry' - a folk song often heard ringing around stadiums at major Irish sporting events - and 'Molly Malone.'



SEE ALSO
Clarke's sporting victory
25 Sep 06 |  Golf
Ryder Cup ratings
24 Sep 06 |  Golf
Ryder Cup: Singles round-up
24 Sep 06 |  Golf
Ryder Cup: final day photos
24 Sep 06 |  Golf


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