Van de Velde Willing to Skirt the Issue
Jean Van de Velde in a kilt? It’s a prospect the eccentric French golfer says may happen, just so he can play in next year’s Women’s British Open, as retribution for some women being allowed to play in the men’s British Open.
“No discrimination to anyone, but it’s a farce,” he said. “If they let me play in the qualifying event, then I will. I’ll even wear a kilt and shave my legs.”
Van de Velde, famous for losing the 1999 British Open in spectacular fashion with a triple bogey on the 72nd hole, said he is not seeking fame, only making a statement about the inequities of gender-restricted tournaments.
The women’s British Open is run by the Ladies Golf Union, which promotes a gender policy that states only females can play. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which runs the British Open, recently altered its entry requirements. Women who finish in the top five of any of their major championships can enter qualifying for the Open Championship.
“My whole point is where do we draw the line? If we accept that women can enter our own tournaments, then it applies that men can play with women,” Van de Velde said.
Andy Salmon, chief executive of the Ladies Golf Union, told Associated Press there is no plan to change the female-only rule.
The Women’s British Open is scheduled for Aug. 3-6 at Royal Lytham.
Van de Velde, who made his comments after shooting a first-round 78 at the Volvo Masters in Spain, left the door open for a legal challenge. He played his eighth British Open at St. Andrews in July -- his first Open championship appearance in four years -- and missed the cut by five shots.
-- Thomas Bonk