Golf: First Tee - Drawn in hook, slice and sinker

IT IS the multi-million dollar question. Could Jean Van de Velde have got it out of that blasted burn to win the 128th Open? Not in a million years, according to David Mitchell, the captain of Carnoustie Golf Club.

"Nobody tries," he said. "You just accept it as a one-stroke penalty." Peter Alliss, on air, thought the Frenchman had gone "ga-ga", as did most observers. However, a Scotsman of vintage age recalls that in the Open of 1937 at Carnoustie, Sam Snead managed to extricate himself from the stream in front of the 18th, thereby saving himself a stroke and proving that it wasn't a third-degree burn after all.

Henry Cotton, incidentally, won 62 years ago with an aggregate of 290, the total arrived at by Van de Velde, Paul Lawrie and Justin Leonard in The Open last Sunday before the play-off.

The evidence suggests that Van de Velde had not entirely lost his marbles. When he did his paddling act "three-quarters of the ball was outside the water and I could see it lying on mud or something and I thought that, Jeez, if that's pretty firm I'm definitely going to hit it out of there." As he got closer the ball sank, two or three inches. "Hey, you silly man," Van de Velde told himself. "Not for you, not today."

The time to let it lie

WHAT TEMPTED him into taking his shoes and socks off is that Van de Velde had put the ball into the water at the 18th from an awful lie and a penalty drop would simply put him back into what he described (his grasp of English as well as Anglo-Saxon is impressive) as "the shite".

Spend, spend, spend

NO SOONER had Lawrie hit the shot of his lifetime on the final hole of the play-off - the 18th of course - than IMG, his management company, and Wilson, who supply his clubs, began number crunching.

For the technically minded, his approach shot at the last was with a four-iron fat shaft. "It ain't over till the fat shaft sings." Apart from the pounds 350,000 winner's cheque, he received a pounds 50,000 bonus from Wilson. The Aberdonian has made his first decision on how to spend the money, ordering a brand new Porsche.

Cardboard cut-outs of Lawrie holding the claret jug will now appear in every High Street but the plan is to take the man himself on a tour of Scotland.

Look on the bright side

JAMIE CUNNINGHAM, who runs a small company in Surrey, Professional Sports Partnerships Limited, could be forgiven for thinking he'd won the lottery with only a handful of tickets. Cunningham, a 30-year-old 15 handicapper, has not so much a small stable as a horsebox. He has just four golfers - Warren Bennett, Jim Payne, Bernard Gallagher and... Jean Van de Velde. He also represents the TV personalities Kirsty Gallagher, Bernard's daughter, and Sue Barker.

His friendship with Van de Velde began in the early Nineties when both were with IMG. Cunningham was the only person in the London office to speak French so he was assigned to Van de Velde's case. When both left IMG, they resumed their partnership. Despite Van de Velde's debacle at the 18th, Cunningham says the response has been heartening with invitations not only to America, including the US PGA in Chicago next month, but Japan and Australia. "I have no idea what happens from here," Cunningham admitted. "The next four weeks will be a test of Jean's character. He's been through military service, he's seen a few things and I think he has a good perspective on what's happened. We are determined not to abuse this in a commercial way."

One of the deals offered to Cunningham last week was for Van de Velde to return to the Burn at the 18th and actually play the shot. Larry Mize did a similar thing to replicate his famous chip against Greg Norman at the Masters in 1987. Mize is still there. First Tee is delighted to report that Van de Velde will be doing no such thing. "Jean will not be advertising Wellingtons," Cunningham said, "and there will be no Van de Velde sit- com."

Easy in hindsight

Gary Wolstenholme, one of Britain's leading amateurs, failed to qualify for The Open and instead joined the BBC TV commentary team. Last Tuesday, after the dust-up had settled, he went around Carnoustie in 73, finishing with a five after hitting a five wood approach through the green at the 18th.

"Everybody's talking about Van de Velde," Wolstenholme said, "but what about Justin Leonard? He lost the Open twice. He twice took five at the 18th on Sunday. When he hit it into the Burn at the 72nd hole with a three wood, that was a very strange decision, a bad play. If I was him I'd be waking up in a cold sweat.

"As a major winner he was expected to win. When it started to rain I liked Lawrie's chances because he was physically the strongest of the three. I hope what happened to Van de Velde doesn't harm him too much but I think Lawrie is the better player, full stop."

No silver lining

NOBODY won the silver medal for leading amateur because no amateur made the halfway cut. After the second round Luke Donald led the amateurs, but at 14 over par he missed the cut by two after finding water on the 17th and three-putting the 18th.

Donald, an England international and a student at Northwestern University in Chicago, drove home to High Wycombe. "I watched the end on TV and I had to turn away," said cool-hand Luke. "Jean was very stupid. He gave it away. The 18th is not a hard hole to make five. He was trying to be arrogant and impress everyone. Had he played safe nobody would have said anything apart from 'Well done, champion'."

King salute for vanquished

THE ENGLISH caddie Tim King was carrying the bag for Van de Velde until they parted company in Spain in March. "It's so easy to criticise," King said. "But a lot of people have never been in that position. You can play safe and still get into trouble. He had played brilliantly and was looking calm and relaxed.

"It was a nightmare in the end but he was incredibly unlucky. That putt he made on the 18th took tremendous guts. It could make him rather than break him."

There's always the lottery

CHRISTOPHE, Van de Velde's caddie at Carnoustie, claims to have developed a computer software programme that will be more lucrative than 10 per cent of any player's prize money. It is designed to win the "Lotto", France's equivalent of the National Lottery. It is not known whether the figure seven is an integral part of the system.

Suggested Topics
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform