Monday notebook

Darren Clarke shares his perspective on the age gap between himself and Rory McIlroy. Plus, Charl Schwartzel is open to expanding his wardrobe, McIlroy has seen the world in a matter of days, and more.


By simply placing the end of his putter right at his belly button, Keegan Bradley told PGA Professional Michael Breed, he can "forget about mechanics." (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)

By The PGA of America

SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda -- Darren Clarke travels everywhere with the Claret Jug.

“It's been doing a lot of traveling with me, here there and everywhere, and I think I may be second in all-time names on the jug that have been out in pubs; I think Mr. (John) Daly might have had a few more than me," he chuckled. "But I think I'm pushing him hard, and I might just get past him.”

When asked how he felt about having turned pro the year after Rory McIlroy was born, he quipped, “I'll just walk around in a push chair and stuff. I'm here -- old, but I'm still here.”

FILLING OUT HIS WARDROBE: When asked what he thinks about possibly getting a pink jacket at the PGA Grand Slam to go along with his Green Jacket fro the Masters, Charl Schwartzel was all for it.

“It would be great,” he said. “I could start a collection of colors of jackets.”

When asked about his now-famous plane ride with Rory McIlroy after the Masters, Schwartzel commented, “We got on that plane, and he was the one that suggested we take a photo (of the two of them with the Green Jacket). I never wanted to shove it in his face. … That's the type of guy he is. I think we all knew that he was going to win a very big tournament.”

7 DAYS IN UTOPIA: Rory McIlroy is visiting Bermuda for this first time, after a whirlwind trip that started in Scotland.

“I played the Dunhill Links. From Scotland, I flew to Helsinki, Finland, to get a connecting flight to Seoul and then played in the Korean Open,” he said. “Then flew from Seoul to Shanghai and then started my little adventure around China last week, seven different cities in seven days (in a special event also featuring such players as Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter).

McIlroy followed that up by flying 20 more hours from the Far East to Bermuda.

“I feel okay,” he smiled. “I might be falling asleep and my head might be in my soup tonight at dinner, but I feel okay.”

BERMUDA MORNING DRIVE: All four champions participated in a special Champions Clinic (which will air on The Golf Fix at 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. ET on The Golf Channel) hosted by Michael Breed. Here are snapshots from Breed's conversation with the major winners:

“SORRY I’M LATE”: Rory McIlroy arrived from Hong Kong around 12:30 p.m. on Monday after traveling for about 20 hours, but he got right down to business on the 17th hole with a quick clinic on using the driver. 

He told fans that he focuses on balance and stability throughout his swing. He shifts his weight onto the arches of his feet, widens his stance and tries to maintain a one-piece takeway in his swing.

RHYTHM & GREENS: Charl Schwartzel executed a few nice approach shots on the 16th hole using his sand wedge. He recommends focusing on rhythm and tempo and putting weight on the front foot for consistency. If the ball position is forward, it will go high and soft; if the position is back it will go low with a little bit of spin.

AN EQUATION FOR SUCCESSFUL PUTTING: Keegan Bradley offered his expertise on putting, and more specifically, using a belly putter. By simply placing the end of the club right at his belly button, he can “forget about mechanics” as he is locked into the correct position every time. 

“All variables are gone -- [he] can feel it and know it’s right.” With the belly putter he is able to putt more visually, and also demonstrated a drill that he often uses by putting two tees down to line up his shot.

THREE SHOTS TO THE WIND: On the 16th hole, Darren Clarke offered suggestions on how to adjust the shot off the tee and control the trajectory of the ball when playing in windy conditions, which is sure to come in handy this week when playing the ocean holes at Port Royal. By moving the ball back in his stance, he can produce a more penetrating blow to the ball and better control the trajectory.