Former Open Champion and Ryder Cup winner Darren Clarke has received the Golf Foundation’s ‘Spirit of Golf’ Award at Hoylake ahead of the Open Championship tournament on Thursday July 17.

Former Open Champion and Ryder Cup winner Darren Clarke has received the Golf Foundation’s ‘Spirit of Golf’ Award at Hoylake ahead of the Open Championship tournament on Thursday July 17.

An appreciative audience watched the presentation at the R&A Swingzone in Royal Liverpool’s tented village on Tuesday, a stage for the Golf Foundation provided by The R&A to help the charity inspire a great many youngsters new to the game during Open Championship week.

The Golf Foundation works to make golf more accessible to children from all backgrounds through its HSBC Golf Roots programme in schools, clubs and communities.

Every year the Spirit of Golf Award is presented to a golfer considered to be inspirational to junior golfers, thus helping the Golf Foundation and its partners to grow the game.

Darren follows a stellar list of Spirit of Golf Award recipients. This includes Gary Player (2007), Tony Jacklin (2008), Lee Westwood (2009), Ian Poulter (2010), Ernie Els (2011), Peter Alliss (2012) and Tom Watson (2013).

On receiving the trophy from Foundation Chairman Charles Harrison, Darren Clarke said: “This is a great honour for me.

“Golf has been very good to me and I try to put something back into the game and play the game in the right way.”

The Darren Clarke Foundation raises funds for cancer charities and supports junior golf in Ireland, showing youngsters that golf can be a great game to take-up. The Darren Clarke Golf School is a growing international academy programme, started in Northern Ireland.

Chairman Charles Harrison said: “While we all remember Darren’s great feats in six Ryder Cups and his wonderful Open Championship win, it is worth remembering the effect such performances have on young people experiencing the sport for the first time, which can be truly inspirational.

“Darren’s career as a golfer has been great, as is his exemplary charity work for his Foundation, raising money to beat cancer, and his progressive work to help new players in the Darren Clarke Golf School.”

The Golf Foundation is a highly progressive development organisation, which is increasing golf participation in schools and creating stronger links between schools and golf clubs and driving ranges in support of the national bodies for England, Scotland and Wales.

The Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots programme reaches hundreds of thousands of youngsters in England, while the Foundation supports Scottish and Welsh golf development projects through strategic funding.

HSBC Golf Roots Ambassadors include Lee Westwood, Ken Brown and Alison Nicholas.

The prestigious Spirit of Golf trophy was designed, made for the Golf Foundation, and kindly donated by Derek Burridge.