Irish duo honoured by Euro Tour

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Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy have been made honorary life members of the European Tour.

Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy have been made honorary life members of the European Tour.

The honour comes after the duo’s incredible major victories this year – McIlroy at the US Open in June and Clarke at the Open two weeks ago.

The pair were presented with their badges at a ceremony in Killarney today by Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who was playing with McIlroy and Tour chief executive George O’Grady in a pro-am curtain-raiser for this week’s Irish Open.

Clarke at 43 is the oldest Claret Jug holder since 1967, while 22-year-old McIlroy, who won with a record score and eight-shot margin, is the youngest US Open champion since 1933.

While both golfers are riding high at the moment, McIlroy has picked Graeme McDowell to partner him in Ireland’s two-man team for the World Cup in China in November, and not Clarke.

As the highest ranked player among them, McIlroy earned the right to invite the partner of his choice.

“G-Mac’s the next highest on the rankings, so it will be me and him again,” said McIlroy.

Clarke has moved up from 111th to 30th after his Open win, but McDowell is still ranked higher at No 12.

McIlroy and McDowell also represented Ireland – in golf the Republic and Northern Ireland come together – at the World Cup two years ago, the last time it was held. They finished second to Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari.

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