Thomas Levet forced out of Scottish Open after breaking leg in victory leap
THOMAS Levet has been forced to withdraw from this week's Barclays Scottish Open at Castle Stuart after the golfer broke his leg when he jumped into a greenside lake in celebration following a weekend win in the French Open.
The 42-year-old suffered the injury as he followed up the now customary spraying of champagne by French players by getting himself even wetter as he decided to thrill the thousands of ecstatic home fans by leaping into the water following his victory at Le Golf National on the outskirts of Paris on Sunday.
While the custom has become familiar at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, one of the women's majors in California, it's not something that has happened too often in the men's game, although Irishman Paul McGinley did dive into the lake in front of the 18th green at The Belfry after Europe had won the Ryder Cup in 2002.
"Thomas Levet has a small fracture in his shin and has withdrawn from the Scottish Open," revealed the player's management company, IMG, in a statement issued last night. "He picked up the injury yesterday after jumping into the water in celebration of winning the Alstom Open de France."
The celebrations followed Levet winning his national Open by a shot from Englishman Mark Foster and Danish rookie Thorbjorn Olesen 25 years after first playing in the event.
Levet, one of the players who lost to Ernie Els in a play-off in the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield, is now facing a race against time to be fit for next week's event at Royal St George's.
He had already come through a qualifier at Sunningdale but has now joined Tiger Woods, who has not played since mid-May because of knee and Achilles injuries, on the list of players whose participation in the world's oldest major has a question mark hanging over it.
"Although he currently has a cast on his leg, he will not withdraw from the Open Championship until he has received intensive treatment to the fracture and has consulted with a specialist again later this week," added the IMG statement.
"He will, of course, be doing everything he can to tee up at the Open Championship next week."
Levet won the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond in 2004, the year he played in the winning European Ryder Cup team at Oakland Hills outside Detroit.
He was instrumental in helping France beat off opposition from Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands to win the right to stage the match in seven years' time and has already been widely tipped to be the European captain for that encounter.Two other high-profile names have also been forced to withdraw from the event at Castle Stuart, where the field nevertheless will still contain five out of the top nine players in the world, headed by No 1 Luke Donald and the second-ranked Lee Westwood.
Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal is still suffering from the back injury that has stopped him from playing since the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth at the end of May and also forced him to miss the local final qualifying for The Open in Kent last week.
Fellow Spaniard Alvaro Quiros is also out of the line-up in the Highlands due to a shoulder injury that prevented him from being on a charter flight that flew straight to Inverness from Paris on Sunday night.
PLEASURE AND PAIN
Morrow takes a tumble
Steve Morrow was never an Arsenal legend, but he gained fame of a different kind at the 1993 League Cup final. He scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday, and Arsenal captain Tony Adams was so thrilled that he tried to hoist Morrow on to his shoulders - but Morrow fell to the ground, broke his arm and dislocated his shoulder.
Fickle finger of fate
Swiss footballer Paulo Diogo celebrated a goal for Servette in 2004 by jumping up on to the perimeter fencing, where he caught his wedding ring. As he jumped off the fence, a large part of his finger stayed up there, along with his ring. He was then booked for his 'excessive' celebration.
What goes up...
Poor old Doug Sanders. He should have won the 1970 Open Championship at St Andrews, but missed a tiddler on the final hole to let Jack Nicklaus into a play-off. Upon sinking the winning putt, Nicklaus launched his putter into the air - forcing Sanders to take cover as the club hurtled back to earth.
Champagne goes flat
In 2009, skier Lindsey Vonn was celebrating her downhill victory at the World Skiing Championships in 2009 when she grabbed a broken champagne bottle and cut a tendon in her thumb, which required surgery.
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