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"Go Down Swinging" to Recount Golf's Most Epic Collapse; Monday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 28, 2018, 7:45 pm

Stylized Documentary Goes Shot-by-Shot Revisiting 72nd Hole via First-Hand Witnesses, Including Van de Velde

“There’s no event that comes close to the theatre, the bad luck, the comedy, the sadness, but also within it – the triumph – in one place.” – Mike Tirico

VIDEO: Go Down Swinging Trailer

As sports fans prepare to watch NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the world’s best golfers taking on Carnoustie Golf Links at The Open next month, Golf Channel will showcase its latest Golf Films project, Go Down Swinging: ’99 Open at Carnoustie, highlighting one of the most unforgettable collapses ever in major championship golf. The film will revisit the memorable misfortune and theatrics of The 1999 Open, when Jean van de Velde surrendered what seemed like inevitable victory with a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole of golf’s original championship.

First-hand accounts – including Van de Velde’s – reflecting on the outcome nearly 20 years later will lead viewers through the stylized documentary, going shot-by-shot to recap the unfathomable developments that played out on the 18th hole during Sunday’s final round. Go Down Swinging will premiere on Monday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel, presented by Loch Lomond single malt scotch whisky with limited commercial interruption.

“I aimed three yards right of the flag and thought if you’re in the bunker, the game is over.

Even if you miss in the grand stand, the game is over. How often do you see a ball [bounce

off the railing and] do what it did?” – Jean van de Velde on his 2nd shot on the 72nd hole

The film blends the original broadcast footage and blunt commentary reacting to the meltdown (ESPN’s Tirico, Curtis Strange, Bob Rosburg, Steve Melnyk, and the BBC’s Peter Alliss, Alex Hay) with retrospect interviews recounting in vivid detail how improbable a finish it was, and how unbelievable it still remains. In addition to Van de Velde, other subjects interviewed for Go Down Swinging include Van de Velde’s caddie, Christophe Angiolini, along with eventual winner Paul Lawrie, Justin Leonard (T-2nd), Alliss, Tirico, and on-site golf media.

Throughout the film, stylized transitions from one Van de Velde shot to the next feature Go Down Swinging’s acting narrator – comedian Lenny Clarke (Rescue Me) – who portrays a bartender serving a customer unfamiliar with The 1999 Open, which is re-airing on the TV behind the bar. The film also offers greater context on Carnoustie’s brutally difficult conditions in ‘99, Van de Velde’s standing as a relative unknown entering the week, and Lawrie’s improbable comeback despite facing a 10-shot deficit going into the final round.

“1999 was the first Open I’d ever covered and I’ve been fascinated by it ever since,” said Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner, a co-producer and writer of the film. “It was sad and funny and heroic and still to this day, hard to fathom.”

Go Down Swinging is being produced by Golf Films, led by 13-time Emmy Award-winning coordinating producer Israel DeHerrera, who has served as the lead producer for several critically acclaimed projects, including the three-part Arnie (2014) and Jack (2017) films on Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Lerner returns as a co-producer and writer alongside DeHerrera following his contributions in the same role for Summer of ’76 (2017), recounting The 1976 Open at Royal Birkdale. Other award-winning projects produced by Golf Films include Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys, executive produced by Rickie Fowler; the Emmy-nominated Payne (2014), on the late Payne Stewart; Arnie & Me (2015), a follow-up, fourth installment of Arnie; ’86 (2016), a chronicle of Nicklaus’ final major championship win at the 1986 Masters that aired to coincide with the 30th anniversary of his iconic win; and Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta (2015), on the two-time Masters champion’s special relationship with the tournament.





Jean van de Velde

  • “If I had one shot to do different, it would be the third one.”

Christophe Angiolini, Van de Velde’s caddie at ’99 Open

  • “If I were in the same situation again, I would tell him to hit an iron off the tee.”

Paul Lawrie, 1999 Open champion

  • “No matter what happened, and the way it happened, my name is on [the Claret Jug].”

Justin Leonard, T-2nd at ’99 Open

  • “When he [got to the tee to start the playoff] I just wanted to give the guy a hug.”

John Philp, former greenskeeper at Carnoustie Golf Links

  • “The course was the same for everybody, but I admit it was very tough.”

Jesper Parnevik, T-10th at ’99 Open

  • “1999 was set up like the toughest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Lee Janzen, 70th at ’99 Open

  • “If you could go without making double in a practice round it was $100. Nobody did it.”



Peter Alliss, play-by-play host on BBC live broadcast at ’99 Open

  • “I didn’t know what to say. Wipe him down, give him a large brandy for goodness sake.”

Mike Tirico, play-by-play host on ABC/ESPN live broadcast at ’99 Open (NBC Sports)

  • “I was more honest than I’d ever been on the air, and I think it’s because I felt his pain.”

Jimmy Roberts, reporter on ABC/ESPN live broadcast at ’99 Open (NBC Sports)

  • “It was a complete cataclysmic disaster.”

John Hopkins, former golf correspondent, The Times – U.K. (Global Golf Post)

  • “He was doing something that would be described forever more as that of a showman.”

Jaime Diaz, former editor-in-chief, Golf World (Golf Channel)

  • “I don’t think he choked. I think he got one of the worst breaks in the history of golf.”

Jack Graham, producer on ABC/ESPN live broadcast at ’99 Open (Golf Channel)

  • “That 40 minutes was about as stunning as anything I have ever been a part of.”

Bill Fields, former senior editor, Golf World

  • “Most people, they want to look at the wreck. They want to see what happened.”

Lenny Clarke, (comedian), acting narrator of Go Down Swinging

  • “He’s probably more famous for losing than if he had won. He handled it like a champ.”

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post

  • “I didn’t write Lawrie’s name down once the entire week, or look at him on a tee sheet.”

Iain Carter, golf correspondent, BBC

  • “Jean van de Velde blew up on the last, but Paul Lawrie won that Open.”

Rich Lerner, host, Golf Channel

  • “As Lawrie put the finishing touches on his brilliant round, he was an afterthought.”

Ron Sirak, former senior writer, Golf Digest

  • “Lawrie’s round that day was like shooting 60 at Oakmont.”
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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods has a three-shot lead entering the final round of the Tour Championship and is alongside Rory McIlroy in the final group. We're tracking him.

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”

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Glover trails Straka at Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 12:19 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.

With the top 25 earners in the four-event Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''

Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.

''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.

''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''

Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.

McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.

The series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.