Van de Velde excited by Carnoustie return


It has been 17 years since Jean van de Velde's infamous implosion at Carnoustie, but the flamboyant Frenchman is hoping for better memories when he makes his Senior Open debut at the same course in July.

Van de Velde was on the cusp of winning The Open in 1999 as he held a three-shot lead going down the last, but a costly triple-bogey seven put him in a three-way play-off with Justin Leonard and eventual winner Paul Lawrie.

The lasting memory from that year's Open was undoubtedly the image of Van de Velde taking off his shoes and socks and rolling up his trousers before entering the famous Barry Burn, which guards the 18th green, contemplating taking a shot.

Common sense ultimately prevailed and Van de Velde accepted a penalty before holing out his putt for seven.

Van de Velde, who will be 50 by the time the tournament is played between July 21 and 24, will return to the famous links course for his Senior Open debut and he has no qualms with people still talking about his Open meltdown.

"No, I don't get tired of people talking about 1999 and reminding me about what happened. I am lucky enough to still be involved in golf, but I am not as exposed as I was before so it doesn't come up as much in conversation," he told the European Tour's official website.

"I know it is part of history. It is part of my life as well as a golfer. There were quite a few viewers that day - 250-300 million, I believe - so it would take me a while if I met all them and answered their questions about that day, from which I have great memories.

"The challenges are going to be enormous. The weather is going to be a decisive factor because it is so windy there. You need to have great knowledge of the golf course and like every other links course it's hard to hit the ball very close to the hole."