Dustin Johnson – or any golfer, for that matter – would not prefer a Jean Van de Velde comparison. That’s the best guess, at least.
It was 1999 at the British Open Championship – and the location was Carnoustie.
Jean Van de Velde was a relative unknown in the game of golf, yet sitting at the 18th tee of the final round in prime position to cruise to a major championship victory.
How quickly a day can go awry… and this story is by far the biggest example in the PGA history as to how mental the game really is (and not just based on skill alone).
Discussing the Van de Velde collapse simply won’t do it justice, but instead here’s a video of the epic collapse, via You Tube:
Currently, as I write this mini-post, it’s still very early in the final round of the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, but 25-year old American Dustin Johnson is certainly channeling his inner Jean Van de Velde.
Entering the final round, Johnson was on top of the leaderboard at six-under par. But after the first three holes, he managed a triple bogey and a double bogey, including a flubbed chip off the hosel of the club and a wayward tee shot that was so far from being a quality tee shot, none of NBC’s cameras could track down where the ball ended up.
Heading into the fourth hole, Johnson hit his tee shot off the cliff and into the ocean.
His struggles continue, and I feel for the kid.
But whatever knocks us down, can only make us stronger – as the phrase goes.
There’s plenty of time for Dustin Johnson to right the ship. But at the current time, it’s not looking promising for the young PGA tour pro. With that being said, the U.S. Open certainly has become an exciting one, especially with Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson all lurking on the leaderboard.
Damn, I wish Jean Van de Velde were here to see it.
UPDATE (930PM June 20, 2010):
Dustin Johnson finished with a final round 82. It was an unfortunate ending for the 25-year old, and certainly one that will draw comparisons to that of Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters and the aforementioned Jean Van de Velde in the 1999 British Open.
Oh, and by the way, congrats to Northern Ireland native Graeme McDowell – the winner of the 2010 U.S. Open.
Which is the biggest collapse in PGA Tour major championship history?
- Jean Van de Velde: 1999 British Open (53%, 8 Votes)
- Dustin Johnson: 2010 U.S. Open (27%, 4 Votes)
- Greg Norman: 1996 Masters (13%, 2 Votes)
- Other (7%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 15