Jean van de Velde (golfer)

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Jean van de Velde
Jean van de velde 2016.jpg
Van de Velde in 2016
Personal information
Full nameJean van de Velde
Born (1966-05-29) 29 May 1966 (age 56)
Mont-de-Marsan, France
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Sporting nationality France
ChildrenAlexandra, Anne Sophie, Hugo , Louie
Turned professional1987
Current tour(s)European Senior Tour
Former tour(s)European Tour
PGA Tour
Professional wins7
Highest ranking70 (21 May 2000)[1]
Number of wins by tour
European Tour2
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentT19: 2000
PGA ChampionshipT30: 2000
U.S. OpenT45: 2002
The Open ChampionshipT2: 1999

Jean van de Velde (born 29 May 1966) is a French professional golfer. He was born in Mont-de-Marsan, Landes, France. Van de Velde turned professional in 1987 and his rookie season on the European Tour was 1989. His first European Tour win was the 1993 Roma Masters. He has twice finished in the top twenty of the Order of Merit. He came close to winning The Open Championship in 1999, but lost a three shot lead on the final hole. He played on the PGA Tour in 2000 and 2001.

1999 Open Championship[edit]

Van de Velde was ranked 152 in the world, and with only one previous European Tour victory, when he nearly achieved an upset victory at the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie.[2][3] Going into the final round, he held a five shot lead over Justin Leonard and Craig Parry.[4] Van de Velde arrived at the 18th tee with a three shot lead, needing only a double bogey six to become the first Frenchman since 1907 to win a major golf tournament. He had played error-free golf for much of the week and birdied the 18th hole in two previous rounds at the tournament.

Van de Velde chose to use his driver off the tee, and he drove the ball to the right of the burn, where he was lucky to find land. Rather than laying up and hitting the green with his third, Van de Velde decided to go for the green with his second shot. His shot drifted right, ricocheted backwards off the railings of the grandstands by the side of the green, landed on top of the stone wall of the Barry Burn and then bounced fifty yards backwards into knee-deep rough.

On his third shot, Van de Velde's club got tangled in the rough on his downswing, and his ball flew into the Barry Burn, a water hazard. He removed his shoes and socks and stepped through shin-deep water as he debated whether to try to hit his ball out of the Barry Burn, which guards the 18th green. Ultimately, he took a drop and then hit his fifth shot into the greenside bunker. Van de Velde shot to within six feet from the hole, and made the putt for a triple-bogey seven, dropping him into a three-way playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie. Lawrie won in the playoff.[5][6]

The performance has become infamous in professional golf history.[2][3] ESPN once called it the "biggest collapse" in golf,[7] and in 2016 ranked it 13th on its list of 25 worst collapses in sports history.[4] USA Today ranked it 4th in 2016 on its list of worst collapses in sports.[8]

Later career[edit]

In the new millennium, Van de Velde was troubled by injuries for several years, but he made a comeback at the 2005 Open de France, where he lost a playoff to fellow Frenchman Jean-François Remésy after, once again, finding water on the last hole. In 2006, he won his second European Tour title at the Madeira Island Open Caixa Geral de Depositos.

In 2012 he was named by UNICEF France as an ambassador – only the second French sportsman, after Lilian Thuram, to achieve this.[9]

Amateur wins (3)[edit]

  • 1985 French Youths Championship
  • 1986 French Youths Championship, French Amateur Championship

Professional wins (7)[edit]

European Tour wins (2)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
1 18 Apr 1993 Roma Masters 66-76-67-72=281 −7 Playoff New Zealand Greg Turner
2 26 Mar 2006 Madeira Island Open Caixa Geral de Depositos 69-65-71-68=273 −15 1 stroke England Lee Slattery

European Tour playoff record (1–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1993 Roma Masters New Zealand Greg Turner Won with par on third extra hole
2 1999 The Open Championship Scotland Paul Lawrie, United States Justin Leonard Lawrie won four-hole aggregate playoff;
Lawrie: E (5-4-3-3=15),
Leonard: +3 (5-4-4-5=18),
van de Velde: +3 (6-4-3-5=18)
3 2005 Open de France France Jean-François Remésy Lost to double-bogey on first extra hole

Other wins (5)[edit]

Playoff record[edit]

PGA Tour playoff record (0–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1999 The Open Championship Scotland Paul Lawrie, United States Justin Leonard Lawrie won four-hole aggregate playoff;
Lawrie: E (5-4-3-3=15),
Leonard: +3 (5-4-4-5=18),
van de Velde: +3 (6-4-3-5=18)
2 2000 Reno–Tahoe Open United States Scott Verplank Lost to birdie on fourth extra hole

Results in major championships[edit]

Tournament 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open
The Open Championship CUT T34 T38 CUT T2
PGA Championship T26
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Masters Tournament T19
U.S. Open CUT T45
The Open Championship T31 CUT CUT T19
PGA Championship T30
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
The Open Championship 0 1 0 1 1 2 9 5
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Totals 0 1 0 1 1 3 14 9
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 3 (1999 Open Championship – 2000 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1

Results in The Players Championship[edit]

Tournament 2000 2001
The Players Championship CUT CUT

CUT = missed the halfway cut

Results in World Golf Championships[edit]

Tournament 1999 2000 2001
Match Play R16
Championship T30 NT1
Invitational T36

1Cancelled due to 9/11

  Top 10
  Did not play

QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = Tied
NT = No tournament

Team appearances[edit]




  1. ^ "Week 20 2000 Ending 21 May 2000" (pdf). OWGR. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b Nelson, Elizabeth (17 July 2019). "Sink or … Swim? Remembering Jean Van de Velde's British Open Meltdown, 20 Years Later". The Ringer. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Jean Van de Velde's cartoonish collapse at 1999 British Open revisited in whimsical new Netflix doc". Golf. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  4. ^ a b "The 25 worst collapses in sports history". 12 July 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  5. ^ Harig, Bob (18 July 1999). "Frozen moment: Van de Velde throws it away". ESPN.
  6. ^ "Collapse at Carnoustie". CNNSI. 19 July 1999. Archived from the original on 18 July 2006.
  7. ^ "How Jean van de Velde famously threw away The Open". 13 July 2018. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  8. ^ "The 10 worst collapses in sports". For The Win. 11 April 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  9. ^ Dunsmuir, Alistair (7 July 2012). "Van de Velde named UNICEF ambassador". Golf Club Management. Retrieved 23 April 2013.

External links[edit]