Clarke rises to 30th in world ranking after popular victory in British Open

darren clarke
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PGA.com

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Monday, July 18, 2011 | 12:50 p.m.

Darren Clarke is up from 111th in the world to 30th after his amazing British Open triumph on Sunday.

The 42-year-old from Northern Ireland, the oldest man to lift the Claret Jug since Roberto de Vicenzo in 1967, is only the sixth player to win a major from outside the world's top 100 since the rankings started in 1986.

OFFICIAL WORLD GOLF RANKING

Luke Donald has led the world ranking since winning the BMW PGA Championship in late May.

Player

Points

1. Luke Donald

9.64

2. Lee Westwood

8.48

3. Martin Kaymer

7.38

4. Rory McIlroy

7.16

5. Steve Stricker

7.05

6. Phil Mickelson

6.38

7. Dustin Johnson

5.86

8. Matt Kuchar

5.46

9. Jason Day

5.37

10. Nick Watney

5.30

The others were: John Daly (168th entering the 1991 PGA Championship and 109th entering the 1995 British Open), Paul Lawrie (159th at the 1999 British Open), Ben Curtis (396th at the 2003 British Open), Shaun Micheel (169th at the 2003 PGA Championship) and Y.E. Yang (110th at the 2009 PGA Championship).

Despite missing the cut at Royal St. George’s, Luke Donald is now in his eighth week as the world No. 1, with Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer still rounding out the top three. U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy holds on to fourth place while top-ranked American Steve Stricker remains in fifth.

Phil Mickelson remains sixth after his tie for second with Dustin Johnson, who rose to seventh place from his spot last week at No. 12. Matt Kuchar, who was seventh last week, slips down to eighth. Jason Day drops from eighth to ninth, while Nick Watney holds steady at 10th.

Graeme McDowell falls out of the top 10, slipping from ninth to 11th, and the still-idle Tiger Woods, who started the year in second, is now down to 20th place.  

In all, the second 10 includes No. 11 McDowell, No. 12 Charl Schwartzel, No. 13 K.J. Choi, No. 14 Bubba Watson, No. 15 Paul Casey, No. 16 Ian Poulter, No. 17 Adam Scott, No. 18 Hunter Mahan, No. 19 Robert Karlsson and No. 20 Woods.

Just a month after McIlroy became the youngest U.S. Open winner since 1933 and a year after McDowell's triumph in the same event, Clarke joined them in the Northern Ireland major club with an astonishing performance.

It took Clarke 20 tries to win the Open, and nobody has ever waited so long and then won. The former Ryder Cup star -- hero of the 2006 European victory six weeks after he lost his wife Heather to breast cancer -- could even enjoy the walk up the final fairway knowing the job was done.

"I'm a bit speechless," Clarke stated. "The last couple of holes I was trying not to make stupid mistakes and just play really careful."

Only two players have ever won their first major when older than Clarke -- 45-year-old Jerry Barber at the 1961 PGA Championship and 44-year-old Roberto De Vicenzo at the 1967 British Open. And in the Open alone, only three champions have been older than Clarke -- De Vicenzo, Harry Vardon and Old Tom Morris.

Not that he was the lowest-ranked player to triumph at Royal St George's, however. Ben Curtis was 396th eight years ago.