Bad way to make splash

In golf parlance, bodies of water are classified as "hazards."

And, we've come to learn, not only for wayward shots.

For Thomas Levet, a French Open victory leap turned into a British Open withdrawal when doctors told him his broken shin requires surgery to insert screws and a plate.

"However, the wonderful memory of winning my national Open will definitely keep me going through my recovery," the Frenchman said in giving up his spot next week at Royal St. George's.

Call it a consolation prize.

Hey, Levet had every reason to be giddy at Le Golf National. The 42-year-old pro has been playing his national championship since his teens, only to see guys like Nick Faldo, Retief Goosen and Graeme Storm walk away with the trophy.

Only one other Frenchman, in fact, had won the event since the European Tour's formation in 1972. So when Levet overcame a three-shot deficit on the final day, the occasion demanded something special.


Levet surely hadn't considered the aftermath of Stacy Lewis' victory at the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship, when her mother tore a leg muscle while accompanying the new major champion on a jump into Poppie's Pond.

"She's still kind of struggling, limping around a bit," Lewis told reporters at this week's U.S. Women's Open in Colorado. "But it's getting there. I told her if I win again, she's jumping for sure."

By then, she'll know that feet-down isn't proper form for a Poppie's leap. The pond is only 51/2 feet at its deepest point, no more than chest-high in the landing area.

But at least if you're going to get hurt, it's better to happen upon winning a major — not to knock you out of one.

One wag already has nominated Levet's Leap for what he calls the Frerotte/Gramatica Award — recognizing athletic celebrations gone wrong.

Former Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte, you might recall, gave himself whiplash by head-butting a padded wall after a touchdown. A few years later, Cardinals kicker Bill Gramatica tore his ACL when he landed wrong after celebrating a field goal.

You might add Dottie Pepper's 1999 leap at Poppie's, which at that time was still a full-fledged pond and not the sanitized splash pool it has become. She surfaced spitting green who-knows-what and wound up sidelined a month with an infection.

"I think it's the silliest thing that players have done over the years," said Colin Montgomerie, who was Levet's playing partner Saturday.

"I've always been suspect about people diving into lakes (who) don't know how deep it is and what's in there."

To be sure, not all victory splashes go awry. But there's no doubt it has been a bad year for water hijinks.

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