We all witnessed Adam Scott’s melt-down over the final four holes at Royal Lytham last year that gave the Claret Jug to Ernie Els. But there has been more heartache at the British Open that you probably have forgotten about. Let’s take a few minutes here to have a look back at Golf’s oldest tournament, and some of the debacle’s that have defined it over the years.
No one has had more heartache in major championships than Greg Norman. The Shark did win the Claret Jug and his only major at Turnberry in 1986, but the biggest debacle in Open history wasn’t Norman, it was Frenchman, Jean Van de Velde in the 1999 Open at Carnoustie.
Van de Velde played 71 holes of flawless golf, but the 72nd hole was hell! It lends credence to the old saying ” it ain’t over till it’s over”. The Frenchman’s downfall started with his tee-shot at 18, and continued in a spiral spin until a triple-bogey evaporated his three-shot lead and dropped him into a playoff with Paul Lawrie, and Justin Leonard. Van de Velde was so shell-shocked during the four-hole playoff that he gave the championship to Lawrie, and has disappeared from the golf landscape.
Harry Vardon won a record six Open Championships during his storied career, but his first was in 1896 at Muirfield. American, Tom Watson, and Australian, Peter Thompson are tied with five wins at the historic tournament, but none have been able to match Vardon’s feat. Tom Watson came close to tieing the record in 2009 until, at age 59, blew an eight-iron over the 18th green, and lost the championship to Stewart Cink in a playoff.
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