As Open Golf chokes go, Adam Scott’s was a spectacular as it was surprising
Worst Open Golf chokes #2: Adam Scott, Royal Lytham & St. Annes, 2012
Australian Adam Scott had led at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in the 141st Open from the end of the first round until, well, virtually the very end.
Standing on the 14th tee for the last time, in the final pairing, he was four shots clear.
But he bogeyed these final four holes to let Ernie Els in to win his fourth Major.
At one stage on that final day Els had been seven shots behind Scott. But Els stormed through the back nine in four-under-par.
Scott was standing at 10 under par, one over for his round, after 14 holes of the final round. But he missed putts for par on 15 and 16. The one on 16 was from 5ft.
“The putt on 16 was huge for him to miss that,” said Graeme McDowell, who was playing with Scott.
As Scott was walking to his drive on the 17th he heard a roar from the 18th – Ernie Els had just made birdie, to finish on 7 under
Scott then sent his 6-iron approach from 176 yards into the rough where it nestled down.
“He hit a great drive down the middle of 17, and half of England right of that pin, and he missed it left,” recalled McDowell.
“I turned it over into the 17th,” Scott said. “It wasn’t a good shot.”
As Els admitted later, he was now hoping that he might make a play-off. Just so long as Scott did not match Els’ birdie on the last. If Scott made par, Els and he would be in play-off.
Scott hit his drive on 18 into a pot bunker. He chipped out and the hit his approach to the par 4 to 12ft. He now needed to sink that 12ft putt to force a play-off with Els.
He missed it left.
“I’m very disappointed, but I played so beautifully for most of the week I really shouldn’t let this bring me down,” said Scott in his post-round interview. “I know I’ve let a really great chance slip through my fingers today, but somehow I’ll look back and take the positives from it.”
“I am just numb at the moment,” said Els in his interview. “I feel for Adam Scott, he is a great friend of mine. We both wanted to win so badly, but I really feel for him.”