Up yer kilt!

STEPHEN RIPLEY

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Eight years ago this week, a Scotsman pulled off a feat that hadn't been accomplished in 68 years, winning the Open Championship on his home soil. So why is a bumbling Frenchman the only golfer most people can remember from that tournament?

In 1999 at Carnoustie, Paul Lawrie completed one of the most improbable comebacks in golf history, erasing a 10-stroke deficit to win the Claret Jug. But Lawrie's victory was overshadowed by the final-hole collapse of Jean Van de Velde, who spectacularly blew a three-shot lead on the final hole before succumbing to Lawrie in the subsequent four-hole playoff.

Because of Van de Velde's charity -- that, and the fact that Lawrie has barely been heard from again -- the 1999 Open doesn't make our list of great moments in Scottish sports. Oh well. Perhaps this year's Open will yield a more memorable kilt-clad hero.

Put me down for a fiver on Alastair Forsyth.

10. Braid beats Vardon, 1906

James Braid waged so many classic battles with his English rivals Harry Vardon and J.H. Taylor that the trio became known as golf's "Great Triumvirate" in the decade after the turn of the 20th century. But perhaps the greatest of Braid's victories came in 1906, when he overcame a two-stroke deficit, edging Vardon by a single shot to win his third of five Open Championships.

9. The Gretzky of Snooker, 1999

Edging out 2002 Olympic curling champ Rhona Martin for the lone "not a real sport" entry on our list is Stephen Hendry, a precocious Edinburgher who won the World Snooker Championship for a record seventh time in 1999. He also spent nine years as the world No. 1, earning him the nicknames Golden Boy, the Great One and the Maestro (not to be confused with the Maestro on Seinfeld, who preferred to play without his pants).

8. Wells wins gold, 1980

In the Olympic 100 metres final in Moscow, Alan Wells edged the boycott-depleted field with a relatively pedestrian time of 10.25 seconds. The four-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist also won silver in the 200 metres. Any notion that Wells wouldn't have won without the U.S.-led boycott were dispelled in the following months, when he bested the top American sprinters, including Carl Lewis, on more than one occasion.

7. Bond beats Goldfinger, 1964

Everyone's favourite double-nought spy gave Auric Goldfinger a taste of his own cheating medicine, switching the billionaire's ball before the decisive 18th hole, then reminding him "We are playing strict rules, so I'm afraid you lose the hole and the match." Poor sport that he was, Goldfinger then had his bodyguard/caddie, Oddjob, decapitate a statue with his steel bowler hat.

6. Archie Gemmill scores, 1978

The Tartan Army have such a dismal record in international soccer that their greatest moment occurred in a tournament in which they were eliminated in the first round. At the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, Scotland beat eventual runners-up Holland 3-2 on the strength of a classic goal by Archie Gemmill, who dribbled through half the Dutch team before putting the ball in the back of the net. The moment was made more famous by the film Trainspotting, in which a tape of the goal was switched with a homemade sex tape.

5. Stewart retires on top, 1973

Considered one of the greatest auto racers who ever lived, Jackie Stewart won his third and final Formula One world championship in 1973. He would go on to a long career as a racing analyst, baffling generations of listeners with his thick accent and trademark "It's a great, great day for motor car racing!"

4. Liddell thumps Bible ... er, field, 1924

Immortalized in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, Liddell was a former rugby star who went on to greater glory as a sprinter. At the 1924 Paris Olympics, the devout future missionary refused to compete in his specialty, the 100 metres, because one of the heats fell on a Sunday. Instead, he ran in the 400 metres, setting a world record and winning the gold, to go along with the bronze he won a few days earlier in the 200 metres.

3. Kirkpatrick MacMillan invents bicycle, 1839

Since the Scots invented pretty much everything else in the modern world, it figures they'd be the first to come up with the idea of a two-wheeled, pedal-driven velocipede. The blacksmith from Dumfriesshire never patented his invention, so it was soon copied around the world. Worse yet, in 1842 MacMillan was fined five shillings for speeding after accidentally knocking down a young girl while travelling a whopping 8 mph. Apparently the Scots also invented the radar gun.

2. Son edges dad to win Open Championship, 1869

A greenskeeper at St. Andrews, Old Tom Morris was one of the early pioneers of professional golf, winning four of the first eight Open Championships. His son, Young Tom Morris, followed in his dad's Foot-Joys (did they have Foot-Joys back then?), winning four championship belts of his own, including the 1869 tournament, in which his father was the runner-up.

1. Podgorney wins Wimbledon, 1970

In the classic Monty Python skit in which dastardly aliens transform regular people into Scotsmen, kiltmaker Angus Podgorney saves humanity by defeating a giant blancmange (kind of a gooey, white pudding) to win the Wimbledon men's singles title. Only slightly less plausible than real Scotsman Andy Murray winning Wimbledon.


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