As most people who have lost someone they were very close to will admit, you don't control grief. It controls you. Any time, any place, you can break down. Try as you might, you simply can't manage the random helplessness of grief because it comes from a place deeply embedded in your soul. Just ask Irish golfer Darren Clarke. The native of Ulster became perhaps the world's most famous widower when he helped the European team dismember the US in the Ryder Cup this past September outside of Dublin. Clarke was participating despite the death of his wife after a long struggle with cancer only one month earlier. The image of Clarke weeping after winning his singles match on Sunday melted the hearts of millions worldwide and elevated him to the type of celebrity that his golf game, while obviously very good, never has. Everybody wanted a piece of Clarke when he showed up in Bangkok to play for Europe against Asia this week in the second edition of the Royal Trophy. Despite the eight-man European team featuring five players from their powerful Ryder Cup squad, he was still far and away the man in demand. Clarke has a well-earned reputation as a straight shooter. He is jovial but businesslike. Co-operative yet guarded. Above all he is likeable, genuine and as a global viewing audience saw at the last Ryder Cup, very vulnerable right now. It is a fact that Clarke basically admitted to a couple members of the Irish media on the eve of the first day of the Royal Trophy. Clarke had become involved with a recently divorced woman who was a friend of both he and his late wife. He had made the startling revelation to The Sun tabloid in mid-December, a scant four months after his wife's death, that he and his new companion 'get on really well and make each other happy'. He detailed how his new girlfriend was helping him get over his grief and somehow a relationship just kind of sprung up. The public reaction, however, to a man they had opened their hearts to only a few months earlier was fairly harsh with many saying it was far too soon for this sort of thing and that he should be focused on his children. Three weeks later Clarke announced that he and his new girlfriend were ending their relationship immediately. And then he proceeded to hop on a plane to Bangkok to join his teammates and leave this incident behind. 'I've made mistakes on and off the course and I have to hold my hands up to that and make sure I don't repeat them,' he admitted to the Irish press in Thailand. 'I was kidding myself about getting involved in a romance because I wasn't ready for it. I wasn't done grieving, nowhere near it.' On the first day of the competition, Clarke was paired up with his long-time match-play partner, Lee Westwood. The duo proceeded to systematically take apart Japan's Toru Taniguchi and South Korea's S.K. Ho as Europe won three and tied one match on day one. 'Lee and I have played together so many times that we just know each others games instinctively,' Clarke admitted later, as he relaxed on a terrace at the Amata Spring Country Club. 'This event really is a great way to start the year for me. 'And I think it will take off as well. Look at how strong our line-up is.' Clarke has found himself in the centre of a media blitz but claims he is not overwhelmed by it. 'Not at all. I haven't been out enough to really notice it and I am trying to just go about my work.' But he should notice it soon as he plans on throwing himself back into a pretty full global schedule, culminating with the US Masters in early April. 'I have two priorities in my life,' he says firmly. 'Obviously my two boys are the first priority and the second is my job. I am back to work and very happy about that.' He admits that the whole Ryder Cup experience was a bit of blur. 'When my wife passed away, I was busy away from golf and then I found myself in the middle of the tournament,' he said. 'It's hard to remember everything because it just happened so quickly. But it was obviously a very special week.' He talked at length about his job. Although Clarke seems buoyant on the golf course and is known to fire up a cigar or two during a round, he never once said he actually plays golf. 'I'm back at work.' he repeated. True, it's a job, and a well-paying one that he works very hard at. But for Clarke, in the coming months the plush fairways and manicured greens of the golf course will also be a refuge where he can lose himself in his work. 'It's still my job,' he says. 'I'm just very fortunate that I love my job.'