Here we take a look at five of the worst Open chokes, highlighted by Jean Van de Velde's 72nd hole collapse at Carnoustie in 1999

5 Worst Open Golf Chokes

The Open Championship returns to Carnoustie this year and the Scottish links saw one of the worst chokes in golf history 19 years ago in 1999.

The course is nicknamed ‘Carnasty’ due to its difficulty and Jean Van de Velde certainly found out in ’99 where a triple-bogey at the 72nd hole saw his chance at Open glory all but slip away.

Here we take a look at the five worst Open chokes…

5 Worst Open Golf Chokes

Worst Open Golf Choke #1: Jean Van de Velde, Carnoustie, 1999

Jean Van De Velde in the Barry Burn

Jean Van de Velde in the Barry Burn . Credit: Ross Kinnaird /Allsport

Standing on the final tee, journeyman French golfer Jean van de Velde led The Open Championship of 1999 by three shots. What followed was the worst Open Golf choke ever.

“Here was a man who had a golf tournament won,” reflected Jack Nicklaus “and mentally and strategically played a hole so badly that it cost him the golf tournament.”

Van de Velde had won only once before on tour: the Roma Masters in 1993. This was one of the less prestigious events on tour. With below-average prize money, it was a not a draw for the best players and it survived only two years as a European Tour event.

On the 487-yard par 4 of the 1999 Open at Carnoustie Van de Velde took out his driver. Two of the three previous times he played this hole, he had made birdie; the other time it was par. Now, even a double bogey would see him home.

A wayward drive went over the burn on the right of the fairway, but found land. Rather than chip back on to the fairway and play to the green with his third shot, he went for the green with his 2-iron.

This shot hit the greenside grandstand. In itself that would not normally have been a problem, as he would be given a free drop. But the ball hit a rail on the grandstand and ricocheted from it. That was bad break number one.

Jean Van de Velde hits his fifth shot on the 72nd hole at the 1999 Open at Carnoustie. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

The ball then rebounded onto the stone wall of the Barry Burn and then bounced up and fifty yards backwards into knee-deep rough – bad break number two.

With a third shot hacked out of the rough, he dumped the ball into the Barry Burn.

Van de Velde followed the ball, having taken off his shoes and socks and rolled up his trousers, and he contemplated playing out of the water.

But sense prevailed and he took a drop. Now he needed to get up and down to win. His fifth shot went into a greenside bunker.

He splashed out to 6ft and holed the putt to at least salvage something in that this left him in a three-way play-off. But he lost out in this to Paul Lawrie.

For a television advert for a putter, Van de Velde returned to Carnoustie that winter to replay the hole using only this putter to see if he could do it in the six shots he had needed.

He did so at the third attempt.

  1. 1. 5 Worst Open Golf Chokes
  2. 2. Page 2
  3. 3. Page 3
  4. 4. Page 4
  5. 5. Page 5
Page 1 of 5 - Show Full List