Players to honour Clarke's wife

2006-08-16 08:02

Chicago - Padraig Harrington was so moved by the way fellow golfer Darren Clarke coped with wife Heather's cancer battle that he wanted to do something to honour her memory.

So Harrington decided to donate any money he earns at this year's PGA Championship to a charity chosen by the Clarke's with the hope that eventually researchers will find a cure for breast cancer.

Heather Clarke lost her battle with cancer and died in a London hospital ON Sunday at the age of 39.

"The last 48 hours I have been thinking about Darren and the kids and the whole situation," said Harrington who lost his father to cancer last year.

"Obviously, the situation as it's happened, it's bigger than golf.

"This is at least a practical way of helping. I would be delighted to hand over whatever I win this week. For me it feels like I'm doing something practical this week."

If Harrington wins on Sunday his donation to cancer research would be in the area of $1.2m.

Harrington was in the airport on his way to Chicago when he heard the news of Heather's death.

Family friend Paul McGinley is the lone player to opt out of the PGA so he could attend the funeral. Clarke had previously told the players that they shouldn't feel obligated to rush back to Europe for the funeral.

"Obviously Darren made it quite clear that the players should go and play. It is what Heather would have wanted. That's made our decision a lot easier to be here," Harrington said.

Tiger Woods said he's not surprised by Harrington's generosity.

"Paddy is one of the greatest guys out here," said Woods, who missed the cut for the first time in a major at this year's US Open in the first tournament following the death of his father, Earl. "He's got a big heart. That doesn't surprise me at all.

"As far as Darren dealing with the things he has had to deal with, no one can truly understand what he's gone through unless you've actually experienced it yourself.

"I could not imagine going through that and watching someone that you are going to spend the rest of your life with deteriorate and go through the hardships and then eventually move on."

Former Western Open winner Billy Mayfair, who underwent surgery earlier this month for testicular cancer, said on Tuesday he is going to donate money to Clarke's foundation for breast cancer.

"We are going to send a donation," Mayfair said. "I think that is very, very nice of Padraig to do that as well."

The 40-year-old American Mayfair underwent surgery in Arizona to remove his right testicle after he discovered a strange lump while taking a shower.

"Two weeks ago if you had told me I was going to be here I would have never believed it," said five-time PGA winner Mayfair. "I feel good. I think we caught it early and I am looking forward to playing golf this week."

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