Darren Clarke 'frustrated' ahead Open Championship defence

Open champion Darren Clarke is "incredibly frustrated" with his game as he prepares to defend the title at Royal Lytham next week.

The Northern Irishman has failed to recapture the form which earned him a surprise victory at Royal St George's.

"I play golf to win tournaments and I've been nowhere near that standard for quite some time," he said.

"I've got pretty annoyed and although I'm practising and doing all the right things, it just hasn't clicked so far."

He added: "I've had a wonderful year off the golf course, but a very frustrating year on it."

Clarke secured a three-shot victory at Sandwich last year to land his first major title.

A slump in form followed but the 43-year-old believes his game is on an upward curve ahead of his return to Lytham, where he finished third when the Open was last held at the English venue in 2001.

"I played really well in France last week and I was not too bad at the Irish Open," said the Dungannon man.

"I just want to give myself a chance at Lytham and be competitive, and I feel no pressure as my name is on the Claret Jug and it will be there forever.

"I know what winning a major is like and I want more of it - that's why I'm practising, I'm craving more success.

"I wasn't supposed to win it last year and its nice to go to Lytham where I'm not supposed to win it this year."