Golf Sport

A choke for the ages

Written by Ben Blaschke

On Sunday, world number two golfer Adam Scott lost a near unlosable tournament when he threw away a four shot final round lead and a one shot lead heading into the final hole of the Australian Open to finish second behind a rejuvenated Rory McIlroy.

His late collapse denied him the chance to win the Aussie “triple crown”, having already won the Australian Masters and PGA in recent weeks, and no doubt he will spend much of the Christmas break lamenting what might have been.

Sadly for Scott, throwing away certain victory isn’t new to him – he led the 2012 British Open by four shots with four holes to play yet inexplicably bogeyed the final four holes to finish a shot behind Ernie Els.

In Scott’s defense, he has enjoyed a stunning 2013 which included his first major win at the US Masters … and he isn’t alone when it comes to choking.

Here at World Gaming, we thought we’d make the Australian feel a bit better by reliving a few of the greatest golfing collapses of all time.

Jean Van de Velde broke down in the 1999 British Open

Jean Van de Velde broke down in the 1999 British Open

Jean Van de Velde – It had been a long time between drinks for the French at the British Open, but in 1999 they looked certain to end the drought when Jean Van de Velde headed to the 18th tee holding a three-stroke lead. Instead, he fell apart to lose to Paul Lawrie in a playoff. Van de Velde found the rough from the tee, then the grandstand with his second shot. When the ball ricocheted into thick rough, he made a number of poor decisions which saw him put the ball into the bunker. Although he eventually managed a triple bogey to reach a playoff, his confidence was shot and he was quickly put out of his misery by Lawrie.

It wasn't Greg Norman's day at the 1986 US Masters

It wasn’t Greg Norman’s day at the 1986 US Masters

Greg Norman – Scott’s countryman produced one of the most memorable final round meltdowns of all-time to turn a six-shot lead into a five-shot deficit at the 1996 US Masters. With Nick Faldo playing his best golf, the pressure got to Norman who struggled to find his rhythm. His pitch shot to the ninth hit the false front of the green and rolled back, he found water a number of times and luck deserted him as he narrowly missed a number of key puts to finish with a final round 78. Meanwhile, Faldo shot a 67 to emerge with a stunning win.

Scott Hoch – It’s every golfers dream to know that even two-putting on the 18th green will be enough to win you a major. Unfortunately for Scott Hoch, it wasn’t anywhere near enough at the 1989 US Masters. His birdie putt didn’t miss by a lot, rolling just a few feet past the cup. But Hoch seemed paralyzed by fear. He spent an eternity analyzing his next putt – constantly stepping up the ball then backing away again – before eventually hitting it way too hard and sending his two foot putt five feet past the hole! Incredibly he actually sank this next putt to ensure a playoff with Nick Faldo but lost on the first playoff hole.