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?

Related golf links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Vinndication looks a star for Kim Bailey1

International Meeting: Five to Follow

Matt Brocklebank highlights a handful of horses he expects to light up this weekend's International Meeting at Cheltenham.

2

Daily Nap: The joy of six?

After five winning naps in succession make sure you don't miss Tuesday's best bet as we head to Southwell's all-weather meeting.

Brandon Stone with the biggest title of his career3

Alfred Dunhill: No Stone unturned

After a 16/1 winner and 50/1 place last week, don't miss Ben Coley's take on the Alfred Dunhill Championship where Brandon Stone looks worth siding with.

Who are you backing to win the PDC World Darts Championship?4

PDC World Darts Championship tips

The PDC World Darts Championship is almost upon us and our expert Chris Hammer previews the action with his tournament preview and best bets.

Chef Des Obeaux makes his chasing debut5

Tuesday's racing preview

Nick Grant makes Zip his best bet at Southwell and he has a tip for every race at the three meetings in the UK.

Most Read

Vinndication looks a star for Kim Bailey1

International Meeting: Five to Follow

Matt Brocklebank highlights a handful of horses he expects to light up this weekend's International Meeting at Cheltenham.

2

Daily Nap: The joy of six?

After five winning naps in succession make sure you don't miss Tuesday's best bet as we head to Southwell's all-weather meeting.

Brandon Stone with the biggest title of his career3

Alfred Dunhill: No Stone unturned

After a 16/1 winner and 50/1 place last week, don't miss Ben Coley's take on the Alfred Dunhill Championship where Brandon Stone looks worth siding with.

Who are you backing to win the PDC World Darts Championship?4

PDC World Darts Championship tips

The PDC World Darts Championship is almost upon us and our expert Chris Hammer previews the action with his tournament preview and best bets.

Chef Des Obeaux makes his chasing debut5

Tuesday's racing preview

Nick Grant makes Zip his best bet at Southwell and he has a tip for every race at the three meetings in the UK.

Racing Tips

Daily Nap: The joy of six?

After five winning naps in succession make sure you don't miss Tuesday's best bet as we head to Southwell's all-weather meeting.

Chef Des Obeaux makes his chasing debut

Tuesday's racing preview

Nick Grant makes Zip his best bet at Southwell and he has a tip for every race at the three meetings in the UK.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.

Next Race Off

23:48 Remington Park
5
(5)
Summer's Indy
J: Floyd Jr Wethey
4
(4)
American Glory
J: Ramon Vazquez
6
(6)
Good Creation
J: Richard Eramia

Football Tips

Our best bets for Tuesday's Champions League action

Tuesday's Champions League tips

The Champions League group stages begin to conclude on Tuesday night. Tom Carnduff has found value in the stats betting.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.

Sizing Tennessee on his way to Ladbrokes Trophy glory

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in December 2018.