Darren Clarke returning to PGA Tour after 7 years

AP - Sports
Darren Clarke returning to PGA Tour after 7 years

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Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland prepares to play off the third tee during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield, Scotland, Friday July 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

ZANDVOORT, Netherlands (AP) -- Darren Clarke will return to the PGA Tour for the first time in seven years, taking advantage of the five-year exemption he earned by winning the 2011 British Open.

The 45-year-old Northern Irishman, who hasn't won a tournament since that British Open, made the announcement Thursday. If he doesn't qualify for the European Tour's finals, he could rejoin the PGA Tour at the McGladrey Championship in Georgia on Nov. 7.

''I've decided I will be taking up my U.S. tour card next season but that does not mean abandoning Europe,'' Clarke said in a statement.

Clarke forfeited his PGA membership after his first wife Heather succumbed to cancer in 2006, choosing to concentrate on the European Tour to be closer to his two sons. He has since remarried and decided to take advantage of the remainder on his exemption.

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