Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Doug Clarke ('80), All-American and Walker Cup member dies at age 50

One of Stanford's best golfers, Doug Clarke, has sadly passed away at age 50 in his hometown San Diego. Doug competed at Stanford from 1977 thru 1980 earning All-American honors in 1978. He played in the Masters and was selected to play for the Walker Cup team. He finished runner-up in the 1976 US Junior Amateur championship. The San Diego Union Tribune had this to report about one of the finest amateur golfers to come out of San Diego County.

San Diego Union Tribune
June 20, 2009

Doug Clarke, one of the top amateur golfers ever to come out of San Diego County – named one of the top 10 junior phenoms of all time by Sports Illustrated in 2000, along with such players as Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Bobby Jones and Phil Mickelson – has died at age 50.

Clarke, who had suffered numerous health issues, including Hepatitis C, after battling alcohol and drug abuse in his earlier years, died Thursday afternoon in San Diego. The cause of death was attributed to premature heart failure, said his father, Robert Clarke.

Doug Clarke was a two-time San Diego County Junior Golfer of the Year and the nation's No. 1 golf recruit from La Jolla High when he received a scholarship to Stanford in 1977. He won the Southern California Golf Association amateur championship at the age of 18, won two Walker Cup matches at age 20 and played in the Masters in 1980.

“Honestly, I didn't see any amateur in the country that I couldn't beat on a regular basis,” Clarke told the Union-Tribune in 2001. “My game was so good that it almost shocked me at times.”

But the pressures to perform, his partying and his substance abuse and health issues derailed his career.

In recent years, Clarke became a teaching pro, and resumed playing competitively.

Services for Clarke will be June 30 at 2 p.m. at All Hallows Catholic Church in La Jolla. A celebration of life will follow at the La Jolla Golf Club.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Christian Cévaër wins the European Open!

Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images. Click to enlarge.

Christian Cévaër, Stanford All-American from 1989-92, had the finest moment of his 16-year pro career in winning the European Open, gaining him a 5-year European Tour exemption and $559,805 (341,220 euros). His world ranking leaped to 129th from 449th. Full details on the prestigious event played against the best in Europe can be found at http://www.europeantour.com.

Here's an excerpt from the European Tour's reporting on the event as can be found at the above link:
Christian Cévaër, the World Number 449 and without a top 30 finish in his last 15 tournaments, overcame a star-studded field and one of the toughest holes in golf to win The European Open.

After an amazing weekend which saw no fewer than 45 changes of the lead, the 39 year old, whose only previous European Tour victory was the 2004 Open de España, beat England's Steve Webster, Scot Gary Orr and Spaniard Alvaro Quiros by a shot.

His winning total of 281, seven under par, was 13 strokes more than Ross Fisher took on the same The London Golf Club course last year - and his 74 was the highest last round by a winner all season.

But while Webster and Quiros both became more victims of the 471 yard last when tied for the lead - both carved their drives into the crowd, with Quiros hitting spectators with his first and second shots - Cévaër kept his nerve.

During the week the par four played to an average of nearly 4.7, with 154 bogeys, 48 doubles and 26 sevens or worse, but Cévaër parred it the first two days, birdied it in the third round and finished with the par he needed.

"I'm not a long player, but I used my utility club and it worked out great," he said after being showered with champagne.

"I made a point that no matter what happened just enjoy my golf, enjoy my skills and hang in there."

Photo by Getty Images. Click to enlarge.