Open 2014: Darren Clarke back in form

Bill Elliott discusses Darren Clarke's third-round 67 in the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke is on course for a good finish in the 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bill Elliott discusses Darren Clarke's third-round 67 in the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club

By Bill Elliott

Suddenly, out of nowhere once more, Darren Clarke lifted himself on to an Open leaderboard for the first time since he won this glittering title three years ago.

Now roughly half a ton lighter after a diet and exercise combo that has meant a fortune spent on new clothes after taking nine inches off his waistline, it has taken the Irishman some months to adjust to his new look.

“I'm not as fat as I was and so it's taken time to adjust my timing. If you've got 50 or 60 pounds sitting in front of your gut then you've going to swing a lot slower through the ball and I kept leaving the club behind me. This week I've got it back in front and it all feels so much better, “ he said.

His five under par in this rejigged third round took him within at least sighting distance of the leaders and offered momentum to the once big man as he contemplated another move forward.

He says that this Hoylake course has not yet had the serious wind it deserves – and that he relishes – and that if something worthwhile does blow in off the Dee Estuary this afternoon then anything is possible as this 143rd Championship slides to a close.

Whatever, Clarke will be sipping a couple of glasses of wine this evening after a short burst of activity in the gym. “Yeah, I'll lift some weight and have a drink or two tonight. I'm not a teetotal angel, far from it, “ he grinned.

So for the new, slimline Clarke this Open Championship is proving to be a serious tonic. If you get my drift here.

Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x