GOLF: Van de Velde’s Open meltdown will live on in history

The Associated Press
                                In this July 18, 1999, file photo, France’s Jean Van de Velde smiles as he stands in the water of the Barry Burn that crosses the 18th fairway to see if his ball was playable during the final round of the 128th British Open at Carnoustie.

The Associated Press In this July 18, 1999, file photo, France’s Jean Van de Velde smiles as he stands in the water of the Barry Burn that crosses the 18th fairway to see if his ball was playable during the final round of the 128th British Open at Carnoustie.

STANDING BAREFOOT WITH his pants rolled to his knees in the middle of a Scottish stream, French golfer Jean van de Velde looked utterly alone despite the thousands of spectators on the course and the millions around the world watching from home.

In one hole, the 72nd and final regulation hole of the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie, van de Velde would go from an unknown European Tour golfer to golf infamy for losing in spectacular, can’t look away fashion, more famous for losing than he ever would have been for winning.

With a five-stroke lead to begin the final round at Carnoustie, site of the 2018 British Open in two weeks, van de Velde was cruising to a major title over competitors such as Tiger Woods and David Duval.

Van de Velde came to the par-4 18th up three strokes, his name already engraved on the Claret Jug, when he went wide right with his tee shot, then plopped his second shot into high rough when it took a bounce off a grandstand railing.

His third shot splashed into the Barry Burn in front of the green. After initially rolling up his pant legs to attempt a chip from the water, he took a drop and eventually settled for a soul-crushing triple bogey and a playoff, in which van de Velde and Justin Leonard lost to Paul Lawrie.

Golf Channel’s new film “Go Down Swinging: The ’99 Open” at Carnoustie chronicles van de Velde’s follies. The movie premiered Monday and will be shown on the channel in the run-up to this year’s Open Championship.

The film features detailed replays of each of the seven strokes van de Velde recorded, along with revealing interviews with various principals and commentators, including his snooty caddie, Christophe Angiolini, who shoulders the equivalent amount of responsibility for the outcome to the share of winnings he was paid — “seven and a half percent of the purse.”

I watched that final round live and remember being riveted as van de Velde painstakingly played the final hole and thankful that ABC’s coverage never went to commercial for the near hour it took van de Velde to rack up mistake after mistake.

Van de Velde has always graciously answered questions about the 1999 Open in the years since, and even managed to beat his infamous seven by using a putter for every stroke in a commercial filmed in the middle of winter at Carnoustie.

It’s worth it to tune in and relive the event in documentary form, especially with another typically difficult Open at Carnoustie coming up. In seven other British Open’s held on the course, four of them have finished with a champion ending up over par for the tournament.

Clallam Links Open

Once the British Open concludes, players will tee it up in the Clallam Links Open at SkyRidge Golf Course in Sequim on Sunday, July 22.

A mulligan stew lunch with all the fixins will be served at noon.

A mini shotgun will start at 1 p.m. on holes one and seven.

The event features three divisions: Men’s Amateur (0-14 handicap) will play from the black tees; Men’s Amateur (15 and up) will tee from the green tees and a Women’s Amateur group will play from the silver tees.

There will be a $1,000 payout based on a full field and 30 percent of the field will get paid in each division.

Cost is $55 per player ($20 for golf, $25 for a honey pot and $10 for lunch and prizes). The fee includes 18 holes of golf, range balls, KPs, longest putt and lunch.

Carts are an extra $15 per seat.

To get in on the game, phone SkyRidge at 360-683-3673.

Demo day today

The latest in golf technology from Ping, Callaway, Cleveland/Srixon, TaylorMade, Mizuno, and Titleist will be available for a tryout today at the Cedars at Dungeness.

The demo day event will run from noon to 4 p.m.

A complimentary hot dog will be provided for all appointments.

Phone the Cedars’ pro shop at 360-683-6344 for more information.

Sixkiller tourney set

The eighth annual Sonny Sixkiller Celebrity Golf Classic will tee it up to raise funds for the Olympic Medical Center Foundation at Cedars at Dungeness on Friday, July 20.

The golf tournament format is a Florida scramble, in which a participating foursome will be paired with a University of Washington athletic legend.

In a Florida scramble, one golfer on the team skips each stroke played, except for the hole’s drive, which all golfers hit. After that, until the ball is holed, the golfer whose shot is selected skips the next shot.

The night before the tournament, July 19, a cocktail reception/pairings party plus a dinner and auction will be held at 7 Cedars Casino.

The live auction will include several Huskies items and experiences.

More than 35 Huskies athletics celebrities will join Sixkiller, including former head football coaches Keith Gilbertson and Jim Lambright, and former players such as Damon Huard, Steve Emtman, Lincoln Kennedy, Jason Chorak, Greg Lewis and Port Angeles’ Scott Jones.

The event is sponsored by Wilder Automotive Center, with 7 Cedars Casino and Cedars at Dungeness also serving as major sponsors.

For more information, phone 360-417-7144.

OCS Friends tourney

The Friends of Olympic Christian School will host their sixth annual Charity Golf Tournament at Cedars at Dungeness on Saturday, July 21.

Check-in runs from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., with a 9 a.m. shotgun start opening play.

The scramble format event is for all types of golfers from casual players to experts.

There will be two chances to win through Low Gross and OCS Eagle flights.

The tournament is $120 for the public and includes green fees, use of cart, range balls and a lunch featuring Cedars’ delicious Kobe beef hamburgers.

Cedars at Dungeness members can receive a discount by registering through the pro shop.

All proceeds benefit Olympic Christian School students.

Sponsorship opportunities also are available.

For more information, phone Jason Meyer at 360-670-8811 or email [email protected]

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