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

Last Updated July 18 2018, 16:14Golf
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

Most Read

Sir Dancealot wins the Hungerford Stakes1

Newbury Saturday review

A review of the action from Saturday's meeting at Newbury where Sir Dancealot won the Hungerford Stakes.

Harry Kane celebrates his goal against Fulham2

Spurs go top as Kane breaks hoodoo

A round-up of Saturday's action in the Premier League as Harry Kane scored his first career goal during the month of August.

All our best sports tips for Saturday 18th August in one place3

Saturday Bets of the Day

All of our best bets and tips for Saturday's sport in one place, including horse racing, football, darts, golf, rugby union and cricket.

Chelsea take on Arsenal at Stamford Bridge4

Chelsea v Arsenal betting preview

Expect a better Arsenal in their second outing under Unai Emery, but one not quite enough to get a result at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.

Get all today's market movers5

Saturday evening preview

Get the Sporting Life selections, market movers and Price Boosts for the three evening meetings.

Most Read

Sir Dancealot wins the Hungerford Stakes1

Newbury Saturday review

A review of the action from Saturday's meeting at Newbury where Sir Dancealot won the Hungerford Stakes.

Harry Kane celebrates his goal against Fulham2

Spurs go top as Kane breaks hoodoo

A round-up of Saturday's action in the Premier League as Harry Kane scored his first career goal during the month of August.

All our best sports tips for Saturday 18th August in one place3

Saturday Bets of the Day

All of our best bets and tips for Saturday's sport in one place, including horse racing, football, darts, golf, rugby union and cricket.

Chelsea take on Arsenal at Stamford Bridge4

Chelsea v Arsenal betting preview

Expect a better Arsenal in their second outing under Unai Emery, but one not quite enough to get a result at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.

Get all today's market movers5

Saturday evening preview

Get the Sporting Life selections, market movers and Price Boosts for the three evening meetings.

Racing Tips

Check out our free horse racing selections and preview for today's action

Sunday's racing preview

Anita Chambers is backing Foxtrot Lady to return to winning ways at Pontefract - she has a selection for every Sunday race.

Find out who our team are backing ahead of today's racing

Sporting Life: Daily Nap

David Ord heads to Pontefract on Sunday for the best bet of the afternoon with a Hugo Palmer raider fancied to prevail.

Check out our free horse racing selections and preview for today's action

Friday's racing preview

Nick Robson is backing Archie Watson to claim Listed success with Shumookhi at Newbury - he has a tip for every Friday race.

Next Race Off
19:07 Saratoga
7
(7)
Nigel's Destiny
J: Jose Ortiz
6
(6)
Daddy D T
J: Manuel Franco

Football Tips

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package

Saturday's Premier League tips

George Pitts brings you the best bets, Super 6 predictions and top stats for each of Saturday's four 3pm Premier League encounters.

Our best bets for the latest round of Sky Bet EFL action

Sky Bet EFL betting preview

After five winning tips from six last week, including a 6/1 headline, Tom Carnduff looks at the latest round of EFL games.

Check out our goals accas for this weekend's football action

Going for Goals Accas!

We've selected accumulators for three popular goals coupons ahead of Saturday's football action in the Premier League and Sky Bet EFL.