5 notable moments at Carnoustie Golf Links, host of The 147th Open Championship
BYAndy Wittry | PGA.com,July 16th, 2018·
Carnoustie Golf Links in Carnoustie, Scotland, has hosted The Open Championship seven times – with an eighth to be added this year with The 147th Open Championship – and the course has had its share of dramatic finishes.
Of the previous seven years that The Open was hosted by Carnoustie Golf Links, the champion has been decided by a playoff on three occasions, including in 1999 and 2007.
Here are some of the notable moments in the history of Carnoustie Golf Links.
Jean Van de Velde's collapse in 1999
Frenchman Jean Van de Velde led by five strokes entering Sunday at Carnoustie and he arrived at the 18th tee box with a three-shot lead, just needing to make a double-bogey or better to win the Claret Jug.
Somehow, some way, it was Paul Lawrie, who began the day 10 strokes off the lead, who ultimately won The Open after Van de Velde's epic collapse on the 18th hole, followed by a three-player, four-hole playoff.
Van de Velde entered Sunday having only made one double-bogey all tournament and he had birdied the 18th hole on Friday and Saturday.
Here's a shot-by-shot look at Van de Velde's 18th hole in the final round, starting with his tee shot.
Van de Velde elected to use a driver instead of an iron on his tee shot and his shot landed on the 17th hole-side of the Barry Burn, narrowly missing the water.
Incredibly, Van de Velde's second shot on the 18th hole managed to hit both the bleachers and the top of the wall along the burn.
That led to this shot from just 63 yards out, which ended up in the burn – to the shock of the spectators and announcers, and the horror of Van de Velde.
Van de Velde climbed into the burn to examine his lie. He took off his shoes and socks, then rolled up his pants, to the delight of the gallery. However, Van de Velde decided to pick up his ball out of the burn and take a drop.
Even after hitting his ball in the burn, Van de Velde was still just a chip and a putt away from winning The Open. Instead, he chipped right into a bunker.
Van de Velde did what he had to in the bunker, punching his ball out and setting himself up for only one putt on the hole.
In a high-pressure situation, Van de Velde kept his hopes of winning The Open alive by making triple-bogey to force a playoff. His nightmare experience on the 18th hole finally came to an end.
Ultimately, it was Lawrie who won The Open. Here is his winning approach shot on the 18th hole, where his ball landed within a few feet of the hole.
Lawrie's victory in 1999 gave him his first and only major. He never finished better than tied for 15th in the other three major championships.
Sergio Garcia took at three-stroke lead into Sunday at The 136th Open Championship and he led by six strokes over eventual champion Padraig Harrington entering the final round. On the verge of winning his first major, Garcia, who was arguably the best active golfer at the time who had yet to win one, let his lead slip away.
Garcia had only recorded three bogeys in the first three rounds, including a bogey-free Saturday. He went on to record five bogeys on Sunday, including on the 15th and 18th holes.
Garcia faced a par putt on the 18th that would win him The Open. Instead he bogeyed the hole, forcing a playoff. Watch the putt below.
Garcia bogeyed the par-4 1st hole, while Harrington birdied it, giving the Irishman a two-stroke lead to start the playoff. Harrington ultimately won the playoff by one shot.
Four years after a near-fatal car accident, Ben Hogan put together an incredible 1953 season on the PGA Tour in which he won five events, including the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open. In his first and only appearance in The Open, he won by four strokes, completing his career grand slam and becoming just the second golfer to do so.
As flashback video below states "It certainly was Ben Hogan's Open, no doubt about it. The trophy went to the greatest golfer in the world today."
Tom Watson wins in his debut at The Open
Tom Watson's eight majors rank as the sixth-most of all-time and he was as strong in his prime as almost any golfer ever – he was ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the world for eight consecutive years in the late 1970s and early '80s. Watson won all eight of his majors in the span of nine years, beginning with his victory at The 104th Open Championship in 1975.
Watson needed a long birdie putt on the 72nd hole to tie Jack Newton, forcing a rain-filled, 18-hole playoff that Watson won by one stroke after Newton missed a par putt on the 18th playoff hole. Watson went on to win The Open four more times following his victory in his debut at The Open.
Gary Player's 1968 win
Player's eagle on the 14th hole on Sunday broke a three-way tie for the lead. He won by two strokes over Bob Charles and Jack Nicklaus, giving him his fifth of his nine career major championships.