- Associated Press - Sunday, July 17, 2011

SANDWICH, ENGLAND (AP) - Phil Mickelson had to settle for his seventh runner-up finish in a major, although there was some consolation in seeing Darren Clarke on his way to his first major championship.

Clarke’s wife, Heather, died of breast cancer in August 2006, just a month before the Ryder Cup in Ireland. Nearly three years later, Mickelson’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“He was one of the first people that called us, Amy and I, a couple years ago,” Mickelson said. “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. He’s a tremendous person and a very good friend, and I couldn’t be happier for him. It was fun to try to make a run at him.”

Mickelson’s wife is doing better. She walked with him at Torrey Pines this year, then at the Masters, and after a quick vacation to Paris with the kids, came to the final round at Royal St. George’s.


Mickelson said Clarke essentially told him what to expect during his wife’s recovery process.

“I mean, he’s been through it all, and so I was very appreciative of the time we spent,” Mickelson said.

Clarke likes to keep private conversations just that, although he made clear how much the Mickelsons have meant to him. At the 2006 Ryder Cup, when Clarke walked into the opening and closing ceremonies without an escort, Amy Mickelson walked between Mickelson and Clarke to be with both of them so that Clarke wouldn’t walk alone.

Phil has been through an awful lot with Amy, and we have spoken quite a lot,” Clarke said. “He has turned into a very good friend of mine through thick and thin, and he said some very, very kind words to me there after the thing, which is great. And Amy is looking fantastic, as well.”

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CHUBBY’S CHASERS: Chubby Chandler of International Sports Management is having quite a run when it comes to major championship winners. He got one at the U.S. Open in Rory McIlroy and added another when Darren Clarke won the British Open.

Clarke has been with Chandler since turning pro more than two decades ago, so the major was a long time coming.

“He’s had to work hard for his money looking after me,” said Clarke, who turned to Chandler at the trophy ceremony and said, “I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me through thick and thin.”

None of Chandler’s clients had won a major championship until Louis Oosthuizen won the British Open last year. Then Charl Schwartzel followed with a win at the Masters and McIlroy won the U.S. Open.

In all, Chandler clients have won four of the last five majors.

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