PREMIERING MONDAY, JULY 9 AT 9 P.M. ET
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
ORLANDO, Fla. – 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
Christophe Angiolini, Van de Velde’s caddie at ’99 Open
Paul Lawrie, 1999 Open champion
Justin Leonard, T-2nd at ’99 Open
John Philp, former greenskeeper at Carnoustie Golf Links
Jesper Parnevik, T-10th at ’99 Open
Lee Janzen, 70th at ’99 Open
OUTSIDE THE ROPES
Peter Alliss, play-by-play host on BBC live broadcast at ’99 Open
Mike Tirico, play-by-play host on ABC/ESPN live broadcast at ’99 Open (NBC Sports)
Jimmy Roberts, reporter on ABC/ESPN live broadcast at ’99 Open (NBC Sports)
John Hopkins, former golf correspondent, The Times – U.K. (Global Golf Post)
Jaime Diaz, former editor-in-chief, Golf World (Golf Channel)
Jack Graham, producer on ABC/ESPN live broadcast at ’99 Open (Golf Channel)
Bill Fields, former senior editor, Golf World
Lenny Clarke, (comedian), acting narrator of Go Down Swinging
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post
Iain Carter, golf correspondent, BBC
Rich Lerner, host, Golf Channel
Ron Sirak, former senior writer, Golf Digest
ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Serving the most-affluent audience in all of television, Golf Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of NBC Sports Group – is available to nearly 500 million viewers in more than 80 countries and nine languages around the world. Golf Channel features more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, including tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, The Open, Olympics, and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Channel Digital and the NBC Sports App, powered by Playmaker Media. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital and lifestyle services including Golf Channel Mobile, a comprehensive app covering golf’s latest headlines, scores and analysis; GolfNow, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform and golf course technology partner, which includes the GolfNow Mobile App, featuring on-course GPS tracking, in-round scoring and game tracking; Revolution Golf, the largest direct-to-consumer digital platform in golf ; GolfAdvisor.com, the world’s largest golf course ratings and review resource for golfers, by golfers; a North American network of Golf Channel Academy instructional facilities; and Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour; and as the Official Media Partner of St. Andrews Links, the Home of Golf.