Darren Clarke just can't go for a long putter, even if it would help him

Darren Clarke
Getty Images
If Daren Clarke had his way, we'd all still be playing with ''persimmon woods and blade irons."
By John Holmes

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Sunday, January 19, 2014 | 5:25 p.m.
To say Darren Clarke has struggled since he won the 2011 British Open would be a bit of an understatement. The jolly Northern Irishman – who's planning to play the PGA Tour full-time this season – hasn't had a top-10 finish since he claimed the Claret Jug, and his best result in 2013 was a tie for 12th at the Dunhill Links Championship.
Even so, Clarke just can't bring himself to change his putting style.
''I have thought about belly putters and the like. But I just can't do it,'' he told John Huggan in The Scotsman newspaper today. ''The only good thing I can say about those things is that I would need one three inches longer than I did three months ago'' because he's lost almost 40 pounds. 
''I'm a traditionalist and stuck in the past in a way. I look around the practice green every week and see all sorts of putting techniques and grips,'' he explained. ''Almost anything goes these days. But still I can't do it. 
''I’m a purist who would rather miss and look good doing it, rather than make everything while looking like a contortionist,'' he added. ''So, yes, I've tried them. But they just don't sit well with me. It took me long enough to put a hybrid in my bag, never mind a long putter.''
In fact, Clarke had his way, we'd all still be playing with ''persimmon woods and blade irons, but that battle has long been lost,'' he told Huggan, before admitting: ''In fact, I now know way too much about what I am doing for my own good. As I have aged, I have become far more technically aware of my own swing. That's not a good thing. 
''Like anyone going through a bad spell, I've been looking for answers in my technique. But that isn't my problem,'' he said. ''Hitting the ball has always been easy for me. I could do that almost from the first day I picked up a club. I'm a natural player if there is such a thing in golf.''
Clarke also said that he turned down a chance to be part of the NBC Sports broadcast team for this year's Ryder Cup, and likely will watch the big event from home.
''I think the Ryder Cup will be very tight, as it has tended to be recently,'' said Clarke, who many believe is the front-runner to captain the European team at Hazeltine in 2016. ''There's a long way to go, but it already looks like the European team might have a few new – and old – faces. Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson and Joost Luiten all have a good chance to make it. Plus, Thomas Bjorn and Henrik Stenson are almost there already.''