The 1999 Collapse @ Carnoustie

21 Jul 2018

In 1999, Tiger Woods, the prohibitive favorite going into the 128th Open Championship, skewed the GridCard GCI heavily N-Z, but it was Jean van de Velde who came to the 72nd hole with a three stroke lead, poised to cash in for the RightSide. 

The ABC broadcasters, Mike Tirico and Curtis Strange, both questioned van de Velde's decision to use a driver off the tee. Later, van de Velde would claim he didn't go with the safer iron shot because he thought he was just two strokes ahead. Having pushed his tee shot far right, he compounded his mistake by not laying up--but going for the green. This second shot sailed into the grandstand where--if it had stayed--van de Veldt would have been awarded a free drop. Instead, the ball ricocheted backward fifty yards off a rock in the Barry Burn into knee-deep rough.

JvvV's third shot went into the water and van de Velde took off his shoes and socks and went after it. He reconsidered though and took a drop, finding a green-side bunker with his next shot. He actually got up-and-down from there, sinking an 8-foot putt for the triple bogey, and falling into a three-way tie with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie.

Jean van de Velde opened the playoff with a double bogey on 15 and finished three strokes back of Lawrie--who  started the final round ten strokes off the pace but took home the Claret Jug, completing the greatest Open Championship comeback of all time--with a little help from JvvV.