Levet looking for golf French Open boost
05 Jul 2012 - 02:47:06
Frenchman Thomas Levet pulled off the biggest triumph of his career in winning the French Open at Versailles a year ago, but his celebrations immediately turned sour, setting off a year of injury misery.
No sooner had he won his home title for the first time in a career dating back over 20 years than Levet decided to jump into the greenside lake at Le Golf National's 18th hole to mark the occasion.
In so doing he jarred his leg and felt a sharp pain, but it was only after drying off and attending a press conference that he headed for hospital where he was told he had broken it.
Levet needed two months to get over the injury, missing the British Open at Royal St George's in the process.
He returned to action only to suffer another bizarre injury at the start of the year when he fell down steps off a tee box at the Volvo Golf Championships, breaking a rib.
That resulted in another enforced spell on the sidelines and since then he has failed to make a single cut.
Enough to test the mettle of the toughest of golfers, but the 43-year-old Levet believes that from Thursday he can use the feel-good factor he gets at the Versailles course to bounce back.
"The celebrations last year were great and jumping in the water was good, but the broken leg was not so good," he said.
"I went straight to hospital after the press conference and then came back to the course to celebrate with my friends with a cast on my leg. It was quite an experience.
"It took two months to recover, but that was fine. Far worse was the broken rib I suffered this year. It took more from my game than the leg.
"I made the cut as soon as I came back from the leg injury, but since I broke my ribs I have not made a cut, and I have not played very well.
"But the game is not that far away. I am hoping for a good month in July, and then in August and September.
"The win last year was huge. To win your own national Open is always very special and particularly at Le Golf National. I used to play golf ten minutes from there, I went to school less than 20 minutes away and I lived just 15 minutes away, so it was very special."
Levet will have strong competition at the course, the headquarters of the French Golf Federation, which will host the Ryder Cup in 2018.
With big Ryder Cup points on offer and a links-style layout, which allows useful preparation ahead of the July 19-22 British Open, the tournament has attracted its strongest field in years.
Topping the list will be world No.2 Lee Westwood of England, No.9 Justin Rose, also of England, former world No.1 Martin Kaymer of Germany and Irish major winners Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke.
The National's standout Albatross course will be playing to its full length following what has been the wettest June in the Paris region for the last 60 years with much of the drama expected once again to come on the punishing final four-hole stretch where water is an omni-present danger.