Every now and again, a golfer usually at the top of his game will have a meltdown.
Will take a position where it seems hard to lose, and somehow make it happen.
Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Rory McIlroy, at just 21 years old, was the latest player to endure this indignity, having built his way up the leaderboard and stayed there for three days, two disastrous holes in his final round cost him dearly.
Some players are actually defined by these moments, one of the best examples of this is Jean Van De Velde playing at the 1999 Open Championships at Carnoustie.
Van de Velde was the clear leader playing the closing holes, and arrived at the 18th tee needing only a double-bogey six to win this historic tournament, and become the first Frenchman for over 90 years to do so.
Despite a three-shot lead, and having birdied the same hole twice already in previous rounds, Van de Velde drove to the right and only just avoided the water. Van de Velde decided to go for the green with his second shot – a decision that everybody except for him thought was suicidal – particularly given that he could afford to lay-up. His shot went right again, smashed into the grandstand next to the green, hit a rock, and then flew backwards into knee deep rough.
On his third shot, Van de Velde’s club got tangled in the rough on his downswing, and his ball flew into the Barry Burn. In purely farcical circumstances, he then removed his shoes and socks and waded through the water – seemingly considering trying to actually hit the ball out of the water.
Thankfully he decided to take a drop, but then played his next shot into a bunker! He got out of the bunker successfully and holed a tricky six-foot putt for a triple-bogey seven, dropping him into a three-way playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie, which Lawrie won – virtually to his disbelief.
Anyway as it’s Friday it seems wrong to show you the video of Van De Veld, it’s incredibly painful to watch, although if you want to have a peek through your fingers, it’s here.
Instead, here’s a video of a player called Kevin Na, who had the misfortune this week to take a 16 in a tournament in Valero, Texas. Enjoy!