The Northern Irishman turned 50 last year, less than two weeks after the 32nd edition of Europe’s only Senior Major Championship and is now relishing a return to links golf on the over-50s circuit.

Clarke’s emotionally-charged success at The 2011 Open Championship captivated the sporting world as he dedicated his victory to his late wife, Heather, after securing The Claret Jug by a margin of three strokes from Phil Mickelson at Royal St George’s Golf Club.

Indeed, it was Clarke’s first top ten in a Major Championship since he finished tied third at The Open in 2001 on the links of Royal Lytham & St Annes – Clarke shared third place with this year’s defending Senior Open champion Miguel Angel Jiménez and fellow former Ryder Cup Captains Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam.

Clarke will be bidding to join an elite group of golfers who have won both The Claret Jug and the Senior Open Trophy - Bob Charles, Gary Player and Tom Watson.

The 50-year-old will be one of a host of former Major Champions, Ryder Cup Captains and European Tour winners competing at Royal Lytham & St Annes later this year.

He will join fellow former Ryder Cup Captains Bernhard Langer, Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam in the field, as well as defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez, whom Clarke partnered at The 2004 Ryder Cup in a 5&4 victory over Chad Campbell and Davis Love III in the Friday fourballs.