Wednesday, October 22

Adieu, Jean Van de Velde

“My career I can compare to a good bottle of wine. You take a glass and enjoy it; you take a second glass and really enjoy it; a third, then the bottle is getting empty.”
−Jean Van de Velde, as quoted by Reuters

I LIKE JEAN VAN DE VELDE. Always have, always will. Poor guy, I tend to think. He threw away the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie with that infamous triple-bogey 7 on the 72nd hole.

But is he “poor”? I think not.

The philosophical Frenchman has handled his catastrophic defeat with more grace and perspective than just about any human being could muster. And as Johnny Miller has correctly pointed out, Van de Velde got one of the worst bounces in major championship history on his second shot. He can live with it.

“Don't be sad,” Jean said at the time. “I made plenty of friends, because a Scottish man won. So, at least that's something.”

Now that “the bottle is getting empty,” the 42-year-old Van de Velde mentioned the other day that he will cut back his playing schedule to about a dozen tournaments a year. There are other things to do in life.

−The Armchair Golfer


Anonymous said...

I think the man has both grace and style. When he lost the Open he reportedly made the comment that a 100 years from now, nobody will care who won the open at this time. He is right, of course, but no one cares to admit a truth that might be painful.

Anonymous said...

No one will remember who won it, but tons of people will remember who lost it. Van de Velde is up there with the Bill Buckners of the world when it comes to choke jobs. But, really, I would have loved to be in a position to choke at the British Open. At least he accomplished that.

14 STIX said...

I thought this post was about Jean-Claude Van Damme when I first saw the headline. It makes sense either way though. What was more painful to watch, Van De Velde's collapse or Van Damme in Universal Soldier: The Return?

The Armchair Golfer said...

Lancer: It might take 100 years for people to forget it. But I'm sure someone else will come along and blow a major in a big way, giving people something else to talk about.

Robert: Yep, good ol' Bill Buck. It's a good thing the Red Sox finally won the World Series.

14 Stix: I didn't see the Van Damme flick, but I have a feeling I'd vote for Van de Velde.