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No special invitation for Van de Velde at Carnoustie

No special invitation for Van de Velde at Carnoustie

There will be no wild-card invitation for Jean Van de Velde when the British Open returns this summer to Carnoustie, the course where he became famous for blowing a big lead and wading in the water.
Leading by three shots with one hole to play in 1999, the Frenchman took a triple bogey seven at the 18th to fall into a three-way playoff, which was won by Paul Lawrie of Scotland.
Van de Velde had to wade into the Barry Burn, the stream that meanders around the course, with his shoes and socks off and his trousers rolled up to his knees.
Peter Dawson, secretary of the Royal & Ancient Club which runs the Open, said Tuesday that Van de Velde would have to qualify for July's championship.
"If ever anyone deserved an invitation to an Open Championship at Carnoustie, you could say it was Jean Van de Velde," Dawson said. "As much as it is emotionally tempting, in Jean Van de Velde's case, I'm afraid I confirm that it won't happen. It's just not possible in the Open Championship."
"It's really just not fair to anyone else if we start to issue invitations," he said. "This is the Open Championship and people earn their way in by exemption or qualification."
Van de Velde's best chance is to come through final 36-hole qualifying on July 2, unless he can get into the world's top 50 by then. He is currently ranked 161st.
The Carnoustie course, meanwhile, has been lengthened by 60 yards to 7,421 yards _ the longest in the championship rota. It should not be as nasty as it was in 1999, when heavy rough led to many players virtually abandoning use of their drivers.
"We are not seeking carnage," Dawson said. "We are seeking an arena in which the best players in the world can display their skills."
Dawson said the rough had not grown in the last few years as it did in 1999 after very wet weather in May and June.
"We don't tinker with rough," he said. "But we have been monitoring the weather very carefully for some years now and the severity of the rough has been nothing like 1999 for quite some years. And there is nothing in the weather we have been having that would indicate it is going to be different this year."
Officials said there would no be no attempt to toughen the course to the level of 1999.
"What we are trying to achieve with any Open championship is to present a fair and severe test for the best players in the world. That's the case wherever we are," said Martin Kippax, chairman of the R&A championship committee.
"Hopefully what we will produce for this year's championship will be a fair course. The course itself is a very severe test of golf on its own. It doesn't need any dressing up. It won't have any dressing up. It will just be Carnoustie."


Updated : 2020-12-01 07:49 GMT+08:00