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Former Open champion Clarke taking up U.S. Tour card in 2014

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland smiles as he stands on the second tee during the second round of the British Open golf Championship at Mui
Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland smiles as he stands on the second tee during the second round of the British Open golf Championship at Mui

(Reuters) - Former British Open champion Darren Clarke will divide his time between Europe and the United States next year after agreeing to take up his PGA Tour card.

The 45-year-old Northern Irishman is exempt in the U.S. until 2016 following his victory in the 2011 Open at Sandwich.

"I will be taking up my PGA Tour card next season but that does not mean I am abandoning Europe," he said on his website (www.darrenclarke.com) on Thursday. "I will be supporting my home tour as usual.

"I still feel I can be competitive at the highest level. I have always enjoyed America and the U.S. Tour in the past and I am looking forward to playing there more often again."

Clarke has struggled to recapture his best form since winning at Sandwich.

He finished 108th on the European money-list last season and is down in 127th position this year.

(Writing by Tony Jimenez; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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