From Arnaud Massy, the only tricolor to have won a Major, through Jean Garaialde, Jean Van de Velde or even Victor Perez, twenty French people once walked in The Open mode on the mythical course of the Old Course.
Lionel VELLA, in St Andrews (Scotland)
” For me, the British Open in St Andrews is at the top of the pyramid! So speaks Victor Perezonly Frenchman engaged this week in the 150th Open in history, whom we met this Tuesday at the start of the afternoon after having played 18 training holes.
The Tarbais disputes its second British (after the Royal St. Georges last year). He is the twentieth French golfer to tee off here in Saint Andrew. The first of this “short-list” is called Arnaud Massy. The first Frenchman to line up on this mythical course in 1905, he managed the feat of finishing 5th. 22nd in 1910, he then grabbed a superb 6th place in 1921, at the age of 44.
Jean Gassiat his contemporary and opponent No. 1, also took part in The Open at St Andrews, finishing 50th in 1910, 47th in 1921 and 20th in 1927 while Rene Golias does not cross the coupé in the same year. In 1933, Auguste Boyer grabs a top 15 (14th) but Pierre Hirigoyen remains docked after two turns.
Garaialde only once at St Andrews for a top 15
It is then necessary to wait for the 1964 edition to see again a Frenchman in the classification. Jean Garaialde this year offers a beautiful 13th place finish. In 1978, Georges Leven does not pass the cut, same for Michel Besanceney in 1995.
After a period of “lean cow”, the blue-white-red golf line regularly aligns several representatives from 2000 in St Andrews. This year, John Van de Velde2nd at Carnoustie in 1999, finished 31st ahead Lionel Alexander (72nd). No cut on the other hand for Marc Farry and Jean-Francois Remesy.
Another failure in 2005 for the double winner of the French Open (2004, 2005) and for Jean Van de Velde while Thomas Levet takes 34th place. still an amateur, Victor Dubuisson stranded on Friday night in 2010, just like Gregory Havret and Thomas Levet.
Arnaud Massy, overall winner
In 2015, which is the last visit of The Open to St Andrews, five tricolors are registered. A record equaled in a British after the editions of 1928, 32, 34, 37 and 2008. But if Romain Langasquestill an amateur and winner of the British amateur in 2014manages to clear the cut (65th), Victor Dubuisson, Alexandre Levy, Raphael Jacquelinqualified the previous weekend having taken 2nd place in the Scottish Openand Romain Wattel do not validate their ticket for the weekend.
The only French winner in a Major (in Royal Liverpool in 1907), Arnaud Massy is also the player who has played the most British Open. 21 to be exact between 1902 and 1930, including 16 in a row between 1902 and 1922. The first non-British winner of The Open, he was beaten in the play-off by the English Harry Vardon in 1911 (at Royal St George’s), finished three times in the top 5 and 7 times in the top 10 for only two missed cuts.
In this hierarchy, Jean Gassiat follows with 14 Britons played, then finds on Jean Garaialde (11) followed closely by Jean Van de Velde and Thomas Levet, 9 each!
Photo: Stuart Kerr/R&A via Getty Images