Paul Lawrie completes greatest comback in Open history, wins the 128th British Open
Paul Lawrie won his first major championship in a playoff over Jean Van de Velde and Justin Leonard.
Lawrie, down by 10 strokes at the start of the fourth round, completed the biggest comeback in Open Championship history. The event was headlined by Van de Velde's triple-bogey at the last hole.
Van de Velde, who was in control through the latter half of the championship, held a seemingly insurmountable three-stroke lead going into the 72nd hole. He teed off with a driver, which was heavily critized by the ABC broadcast team, and pushed his shot into the right rough of the 17th hole. He later claimed that he thought the lead was only two strokes, which is why he chose not to go with a safe club, such as an iron. His second shot was hit into an area of knee deep rough after his ball bounced backward 50 yards off the grandstand then off of a rock in the Barry Burn. Had the ball stayed in the grandstand he would have been able to drop without penalty. Then the thick Carnoustie grass stifled him again, as his third shot went into the burn in front of the green. Van de Velde took his shoes and socks off, entered the burn in an attempt to play the ball from the water. Moments later he decided to take a drop, at which point he hit his ball into one of the deep greenside bunkers. He pitched out safely and finally tapped the ball into the hole for a triple-bogey. This forced the three-man playoff, which he eventually lost.
As of 2009, this hole is still widely considered to be the worst "choke" in golfing history, and some have even used the term "pulling a Van de Velde" to describe similar events.
Neither Van de Velde nor Lawrie has been in contention during the final round of a major since.