French golfer Thomas Levet’s exuberant celebrations after winning his home tournament last weekend cost him a place in the British Open, and also drew criticism from a former Ryder Cup colleague.
Levet withdrew from the year’s third major after being ruled out for six weeks with a broken shin, sustained when jumping into a lake to celebrate his victory at the French Open on Sunday.
“I am extremely disappointed to miss out on the Open Championship, but my specialist has advised me to have an operation on the fracture,” said the 42-year-old Levet, whose place at Royal St George’s goes to Robert Garrigus of the United States.
Levet’s antics next to the 18th green at Le Golf National just outside Paris were criticised by Colin Montgomerie, who played alongside the Frenchman in Europe’s Ryder Cup-winning side in 2004.
Montgomerie has seen other players do the same thing while celebrating victories - Paul McGinley did so after holing the winning putt for Europe at the Belfry in 2002 - and doesn’t understand what goes through their minds.
“I think it’s the silliest thing that players have done over the years, I really do,” Montgomerie said.
“I’ve always been suspect about people, diving into lakes, that don’t know how deep it is and what’s in there.
“There could be a spike in there, whatever. It’s not the way to celebrate and let’s hope that’s the last time that ever happens.
“It’s not the way to celebrate a golf tournament win by taking the next three months off because you’ve hurt yourself.”
Montgomerie, who looks set to miss the British Open for the first time in 22 years unless he finishes in the top five at Inverness, was also playing at the French Open at the weekend and saw the danger in the lakes himself.
“I played with Thomas Levet on the Saturday and he unfortunately put his ball in the water on the 15th and Wobbly, his caddie, put the pin in the lake only so far,” Montgomerie recalled.
“We go, ‘Whoa, hang on, people have been diving in here?’ We said together that we hope it doesn’t happen because someone is going to do themselves an injury here. We are actually lucky it was only a leg injury (to Levet).”
Levet, who was second to Ernie Els at the 2003 British Open at Muirfield after a playoff, said “the wonderful memory of winning my national Open will definitely keep me going through my recovery.”