Golf: Post-Carnoustie stress is absent

Bruce Critchley studies reactions to Open triumph and trauma

"IF YOU meet with triumph and disaster and treat these two impostors both the same..." Paul Lawrie and Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie were at opposite ends of this particular spectrum and while neither may be aware of Kipling's great work both would seem to be imbued with the sentiments therein.

Both wisely took the week off after The Open, Lawrie to savour the special pleasures of lifting one of sport's great prizes, Van de Velde to come to terms with having cast that same prize away just as he had it in his hand. They would appear to have made good use of the time, re-emerging to make all the right noises and, on initial inspection, with their golf games unimpaired. They have the advantage of being mature players with several years of competitive experience behind them. Both are over 30 with young families and so have a sound broad base from which to put all the goings-on of a fortnight ago into perspective.

It can all be so different if such things happen too early in a career. To the gifted youngster his sport is an all-consuming passion. Wives, children and homes have yet to be acquired so there is little of life's paraphernalia to act as an effective counter-balance. Some seismic shift good or bad at this point can have a devastating effect.

It would be easy now to say that young Justin Rose's exceptional performance in The Open a year ago came much too soon. The stress of trying to live up to that day at Royal Birkdale has so far proved an insuperable burden. He may yet find his way in the world of professional golf, but the longer he struggles in the caverns of missed cuts and visits to the qualifying school, the greater the build-up of mental scar tissue that could prove a weakness in the future.

Sergio Garcia's fall from grace at Carnoustie was not of the same order. He may be only 19, but his achievements since joining the paid ranks and indeed among the pros before he became one of them, are more than enough for him to be able to put those two days on the Angus Coast "down to experience". Behind Garcia there seems to be a wonderfully wise guiding hand.

While Lawrie and Van de Velde rightly spent a week taking stock, Garcia entered and won a little local Spanish tournament, adopting the principle that if you have just fallen off your horse the best thing is to get back on as quickly as possible.

All three returned to the main arena last week and, perhaps unusually, none seemed to be suffering any ill-effects from their extraordinary experiences at Carnoustie. Garcia added a 69 to his first-round 71, Van de Velde scored 70-71, and Lawrie's 71 yesterday was solidity itself and left him five off the lead. It followed an opening 67 which was an authoritative answer to those who had turned their noses up at such an unexpected Open champion.

A good score today will be a marvellous steadying influence as Lawrie attempts to add high-level consistency to the fortune which the men in suits will ensure. With a five-year passport to any tournament in the world he now has the chance to pit his skills against the very best at an age when he should be at his competitive peak.

The striking thing about the two stars of that remarkable last hour at Carnoustie is they have both displayed, in their own ways, a maturity which does not always accompany talent. Lawrie himself is certainly old and wise enough to balance commercial demands with sufficient time to pursue the only thing that really matters, his playing career.

Van de Velde, like Doug San-ders in 1970, will never for long be able to put from his mind the chance he squandered that Sunday evening. But, assisted by the lack of national expectation that will follow any French golf star, his ability to set the capricious fortunes of his chosen profession into perspective has been engagingly impressive.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
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

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world