Word to the wise: There’s really no unimpressive way to win a major championship.

Talk all you want about parity. Maybe it means there hasn’t been any dominance lately in golf, but there sure have been a lot of flashes of greatness. Even some of golf’s older guards have shown that greatness, which brings us to #8…

Darren Clarke,  2011 British Open, Royal St. Georges Golf Club

If we were ranking these major championship winners solely on how hard they tugged on your heart strings and the moisture they tried to create in your eyes – Darren Clarke’s win at this year’s Open Championship would be first by way more than a few kilometers.

Clarke is one of the most liked personalities in sports. He is humble, jolly and open about his love for pints of Guinness. He also publicly and tragically lost his wife to Cancer earlier during his career. All of that makes him nearly impossible not to root for. Fans scream and cheer for him, hoping to ease the pain of the loss of his wife.

He entered this year’s Open Championship loved, but not favored. At 42, Clarke’s career was considered nowhere near over, but his better chances were believed to be behind him. That was until he put together four days of solid golf at Royal St. George’s. The golf course’s length and bunkers challenged players all week. Clarke made errors, but never lost his steady swing.

His Sunday proved to be more of a coronation than a battle. Phil Mickelson charged but then lost the touch with his putter. Dustin Johnson found a new and unique way to take himself out of contention on Sunday afternoon at a major. And, Clarke just kept hitting fairways and greens.

I’ll always remember when he hit the ball out of the rough on the front nine, failed to catch it cleanly and watched it roll between two bunkers and on to the green. Clarke’s smile and laughter were in full effect – that’s why love him. He seems like a guy we’d want to have a beer with.

Clarke is a major champion. There’s really nothing else he needs for his career. Hopefully you read this and feel inspired to raise a pint to him.