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No Open invitation for Jean van de Velde

Jean van de Velde, involved in an unforgettable finale to the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie, will not be granted a special invite when the major championship returns to the Scottish course in July.

"It is emotionally tempting and ideally there would be an invitation but that is not the Open championship and no that won't be happening," Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A organisers, told reporters on Tuesday.

"We have never issued an invitation in the modern era. People earn their way in."

Van de Velde had a three-shot lead on the 72nd tee eight years ago before taking a sad triple-bogey seven at the 18th.

The Frenchman's third stroke landed in a burn. After rolling up his trousers and deliberating whether to play the ball in the water, he opted for a penalty drop. His next effort found a bunker and he splashed out on to the green before sinking a seven-foot putt.

That took van de Velde into a playoff with American Justin Leonard and Briton Paul Lawrie, who went on to land the prized claret jug.

The 40-year-old could still force his way into this year's championship.

Van de Velde can try his luck in international final qualifying and has other opportunities to clinch an exemption if he can regain his best form.

He has played in 10 European Tour events this season and lies 60th on the order of merit with earnings of 142,000 euros.

Van de Velde has had two top-10 finishes, tying for fourth at the Singapore Masters and sharing 10th at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand.


May 2, 2007

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