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.

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