Lefty: ‘I’m reallly happy for Darren’

Nobody among his rivals seemed happier for Darren Clarke on Sunday than Phil Mickelson.

Nobody among his rivals seemed happier for Darren Clarke at Royal St George’s on Sunday than Phil Mickelson, one of the two men who went closest to beating him.

The pair have been good friends ever since Clarke, who lost his wife Heather to breast cancer in 2006, contacted Mickelson when his wife Amy was diagnosed with the same disease three years later.

“I’m really happy for Darren,” said Mickelson, who finished in a tie for second with compatriot Dustin Johnson, three shots off the pace.

“He was one of the first people that called us, Amy and I, a couple of years ago. He’s been through this and couldn’t have been a better person to talk to.

“We talked for a few hours a couple of times, just to know what to expect and what they went through and what worked and what didn’t and some of the mistakes they made and so forth and the fears that he had.

“He’s been through it all and so I was very appreciative of the time we spent. He’s a tremendous person and a very good friend, and I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Mickelson looked like being Clarke’s biggest challenger for much of the day, getting his final round off to a flyer with three birdies and an eagle on the front nine before losing his touch on the greens after a missed tap-in at the 11th.

“It was fun to try to make a run at him,” he added. “When I saw Darren wasn’t going to make a mistake I had to start trying to make birdies, and that’s when I ended up making a couple of bogeys. The putt at 11 was just a stupid mistake.”