Watch: Jean Van de Velde plays the 18th at Carnoustie with a putter...but would his score have won the Open?

Jean Van de Velde's famous Carnousie meltdown
Jean Van de Velde's famous Carnousie meltdown

Jean Van de Velde will be forever known as the man who threw away the chance of winning the 1999 Open in the most spectacular and sodden fashion.

Standing on the 18th tee with a three-shot lead, the journeyman Frenchman was on the brink of his first major title.

Despite his score being three over par after 71 holes, Van de Velde had coped so well with the tough Carnoustie course in the windswept conditions compared to far more illustrious names, thanks largely to his composed iron play and superb putting.

He started the final round with a five-shot lead but Scotland's Paul Lawrie fired himself into contention with a stunning 67 much earlier in the day to set a clubhouse mark of six over par.

Still, a double bogey would be enough for him to become the first Frenchman since Arnaud Massy in 1907 to get his hands on the Claret Jug.

But all of the calmness and focus he'd previously demonstrated suddenly vanished in a heartbeat as the world began to witness one of the biggest sporting collapses ever seen.

How Jean Van de Velde blew the Open

In golf it's still got to be the number one meltdown - above Greg Norman and Rory McIIroy in the 1996 and 2011 Masters respectively while Jordan Spieth's Augusta agony in 2016 couldn't eclipse it.

It all went wrong the moment he got the driver out of the bag, instead of playing safe with an iron. Why on earth didn't he do that given his three-shot lead?!

After a wayward tee shot but him out of position, his second hit a grandstand and bounced back into deep rough behind the Barry Burn. Rather than hitting out sideways he tried to go over the burn but a poor connection in the terrible lie meant the ball was only going in one place - the water.

Comical and farcical scenes followed as he surveyed his options in the burn itself before finally opting to pick it up, drop it back in the rough and then chipping it into a greenside bunker.

Lost count yet? Remarkably he got up and down in two to secure a play-off with Lawrie and Justin Leonard but his head had long gone and never challenged Lawrie.

Trying to make light of his collapse, the Frenchman said: "Next time, I hit a wedge, OK? You all forgive me?"

But he didn't use a wedge, he went for the 'shortest' club of all - the putter!

In December that same year he returned to Carnoustie to film a commercial for a putter company, with the objective to play the 18th with only a putter and see if he would have won the Open with that club selection.

How did he get on?

Part One

Van de Velde plays Carnoustie with a putter: Part One

Part Two

Van de Velde plays Carnoustie with a putter: Part Two

Part Three

Van de Velde plays Carnoustie with a putter: Part Three

What could have been, eh?

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