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British Open collapse lingers
“I go from a feeling of real disappointment to all of a sudden having a second chance,” he said. “I just continued to watch the whole thing unravel. It was like I was playing junior golf, trying to count up how many times he hit it, what he was going to make. You lose track.”
The next shot cleared the burn, but not the bunker. Five shots.
Parry also hit into the bunker with his second shot and was first to play. A massive roar shook Carnoustie when Parry holed his shot for a birdie. The Australian smiled, looked at Van de Velde and said, “Follow me in.”
The best he could do was 8 feet. But he made the putt for triple bogey, then tried to clear his head for the playoff.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange was the analyst for ABC Sports, watching in disbelief from the booth. Strange played long enough in his Hall of Fame career to experience his share of failure. But nothing like this.
“I don’t like to use the word ‘dumb,’ but it’s the most stupid thing I’ve seen in my life in golf,” Strange said.
He compared the blunders to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo mishandling a snap on a field goal in the playoffs last year or Bill Buckner letting a grounder go through his legs at first base to score the winning run in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
This was different.
“Those were all instinctive things,” Strange said. “With Van de Velde, he had a chance to think out the entire hole. He had a chance to use strategy on every shot. And he took the wrong club every time.”
Van de Velde was the last player to arrive on the 15th tee for the four-hole playoff. He lost the lead, but not his humor.
The Frenchman then hit another bad drive into a bush and took double bogey. He tried to rally with a birdie on the 17th to pull within one shot of Lawrie, but it ended when the Scot hit 4-iron to 3 feet to sew up the victory.
He had the claret jug. Van de Velde had some explaining to do.
“Next time, maybe I’ll hit the wedge and you will all forgive me,” Van de Velde said.
There probably won’t be a next time.
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