Thursday, July 12

The Real Reason Jean Van de Velde Lost at Carnoustie

Or is it “van de Velde”?

CBS Sportsline spelled it “van de Velde.” So did the PGA Tour and the BBC.

But a slew of others have it as “Van de Velde,” including OpenGolf.com, Sports Illustrated, Down the Middle (shameless plug) and ESPN. (Actually, ESPN has spelled it both ways.)

I find this confusion about his name troubling. More on that in a moment.

Jean Van de Velde, of course, is the French golfer who would have won the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie had he made a double bogey 6 (or better) on the final hole. He made 7 and lost in a playoff.

OK, back to the name. This from Wikipedia:

Every year, the winner’s name is engraved on the Claret Jug before it is presented to him. The BBC always shows the engraver poised to start work, and the commentators like to speculate about when he will be sure enough of the outcome to begin.

In the 1999 British Open Van de Velde stood on the tee at the 72nd hole with a three-shot lead. The engraver could have been at work -- if he knew how to spell the name. (Is it little “v” little “d”? Big “V” little “d”? Big “V” big “D”?)

I think I'm on to something here. With the confusion about the Frenchman’s name, there’s no way the R&A could hand him the Claret Jug. (I haven’t figured out how the R&A engineered his final-hole collapse, but they do have mysterious powers, sort of like Harry Potter.)

And now we’re told that Van de Velde (or van de Velde) has a mystery ailment and won’t return to Carnoustie next week. Am I the only one who finds that fishy?

There are crazier conspiracy theories. Then again, I’ve been in the sun a lot lately.

The Armchair Golfer

4 comments :

Duke said...

In 1999 van de Velde was loosely translated as "The Loser". But of course, that is French being translated into Texan...so it could be off a little.

The Armchair Golfer said...

There has never been a more graceful loser, in my memory. JVDV accepted his tragic loss with good humor.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the last writer's comment: 'And now we’re told that Van de Velde (or van de Velde) has a mystery ailment and won’t return to Carnoustie next week. Am I the only one who finds that fishy?' Hey ignoramus, if you took the time to check out the European Tour this year, you'd see that his health has been an issue for months now.

Ignoramus said...

You're absolutely right. I haven't kept up with JVDV's illness "for months now." Or the myriad other players on the European and PGA Tours. Great point!

My only regret is making light of an illness that may be turning out to be quite serious. The post, of course, was meant in jest.