We don’t ever again want to see something like what Frenchman Jean van de Velde went through at The Open in 1999.
There is no doubt Carnoustie is a tough golf course. Carnasty as some call it. But sometimes it’s not always the fault of the golf course for bad scores. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a bit of bad golf along with a hefty dose of bad course management.
Case in point, Jean van de Velde’s final hole of the 1999 Open Championship that resulted in one of the most memorable, horrible, cringe-worthy finishes to a golf tournament.
For those who don’t know it, or perhaps are too young to remember, here is a recap.
Van de Velde was three strokes clear coming to the last hole at Carnoustie. A double-bogey would be enough to be the first Frenchman to win the Open Championship since 1907.
With really only the burns standing in his way of victory, van de Velde went surprisingly went with driver off the tee. A poor drive went right and somehow found land to the right of the fairway and burn. Luckily no damage done.
Pressure situations do strange things to people and the part of van de Velde’s brain that deals with rational thinking switched off. Rather than lay-up he went for the green in two.
The golf ball bounced off a grandstand, off a wall and back into deep rough. His third then went into the burn then it all went awry as van de Velde rolls up his pants and went in to hit it.
Thankfully he decided not to hit the ball but in the end van de Velde walked away with a triple-bogey and into a three-way playoff with Paul Lawrie and Justin Leonard which Lawrie would eventually win.
The first video is a production from The Open Championship.
And here are a few snippets from the Golf Channel doco “Go Down Swinging” that we in Australia aren’t able to see. Let me know if anyone finds a way to see it!
A few recollections from the media on course that day.
American golfer Brad Faxon talks about where he was on the day and that unlucky bounce van de Velde got off the grandstand.