Darren Clarke

McIlroy wants to return 'gift' of winning to Clarke

Rory McIlroy didn't think his 10th birthday could get any better.

His father took him to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland for the first time. He also received a new wedge with a rust finish, popular back in those days. And he was on the chipping green when he got perhaps the best gift of all.

"All of a sudden, I meet Darren Clarke," McIlroy said Tuesday at the Ryder Cup. "It was a great birthday for me."

And that's what makes this week even more special at Hazeltine.

McIlroy took part in Clarke's foundation at Portrush, which was aimed at developing junior players. Clarke was a star in Northern Ireland, especially after 2000 when he took...