Tiger Woods’ son, Charlie, misses out in pre-qualifier for PGA Tour event
Image courtesy AFP
Clark has used the anchored long-putter since college golf, and with the ban on the putting method coming into effect on January 1, 2016, he has 17 months left before he is forced to change the way he earns a living.
Clark was born with a birth defect which does not allow him to rotate his forearms normally, and makes putting with a short-putter incredibly difficult.
For now, and most recently on Sunday, Clark said he had pushed the looming ban right out of his mind as he claimed the second PGA Tour victory of his career in the Canadian Open in Montreal.
“I think that’s probably been on my mind for the last couple years, knowing that the change is coming, and every time I’m home I’m tinkering with stuff, seeing what I’m going to do,” said Clark after finishing on a 17 under total courtesy a final-round 65.
“I think that’s taken away from my play.
“The last month or so I’ve stopped doing that.
“I’ve kind of put it to the back [of my mind] now, and I’m going to just do with what I’ve got now, and maybe give it more thought sometime next year.”
Clark, by his own admission, had been poor on the greens this year, but was able to beat American Jim Furyk by one shot, and the key to his victory was needing just 10 putts on the back nine.
The golfer from Umkomaas in KwaZulu-Natal had a torrid year before the win, after battling most of last year with an elbow injury.
In the Majors, Clark missed the cut in the Masters, and did not even qualify for the US Open or The Open Championship.
With the win, Clark rose 78 spots in the world rankings to 75th and also booked his spot in the final Major of the year — the PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky in America, starting on August 7.
Clark last won on the PGA Tour in 2010 when he claimed The Players Championship at the TPC at Sawgrass, and said his latest success was just as sweet.
“Any win is very special, particularly since that win a lot has happened.
“I’ve had surgery since then. I’ve had two kids, which is on the good side of it. My life has changed a lot since that win.
“To have won right now after the year that I’ve had means a lot. I’ve not had the greatest of years starting from January. I played good in the fall last year, but this year as a calendar year has not been the best for me.
“To turn it around like I have and now to get myself into Akron next week and the PGA means a lot.”
Clark’s first-ever professional victory came in Canada at the New Brunswick Open in 1998 on the Canadian Tour, and the 38-year-old said his career had come full circle.
“Well, the irony of it, it could be the place of my first win and my last win. That’s pretty interesting. To come back here, that’s 16 years ago when I was just cutting my teeth as a professional golfer and was fortunate enough to be given some starts up here, as I got ready for Q-school and whatnot. So I have fond memories.”
It had also been a long road back to winning after four months out with the elbow surgery, Clark said.
“Once I had the surgery, I felt like I would be able to recover.
“But the first few months back at tournament golf were tough. I mean, I don’t think I broke 75 for a few months.
“You know, it’s just — you’ve got to keep persevering. Yeah, I always felt like I’d get back. I’d done it before my first year on Tour I missed with a wrist surgery. You never give up hope, and I’d like to say it was a lot of hard work, but I do what I need to do.”
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