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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.

 

VOICES CONTRIBUTING TO GO DOWN SWINGING:           

 

INSIDE THE ROPES

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.”

 

OUTSIDE THE ROPES

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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Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.