Top 5: All-time worst chokes in golf

The Scoop

We look back at some of the worst meltdowns in golf

Everyone who has played sport, professionally or at an amateur level, will have at one point or another thrown away a seemingly insurmountable lead.

But to have an embarrassing meltdown at a major competition and on TV, with millions of people watching, must be the stuff of nightmares.


When it’s not happening to you it becomes TV gold; one of those moments when Twitter erupts and is the only thing everyone is talking about in the office on Monday.

Golf is a sport where it is so easy to choke and throw a competition away. A duff shot can unhinge your game, affect your momentum and mess with your mind.

There are no teammates to help get you out of a hole.

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Just ask the next five professionals how lonely golf can be when a nailed on victory starts to slip away.

5. Adam Scott at the 2012 Open


One of golf’s greatest mysteries is why Adam Scott hasn’t won more Major titles.

The former World No.1 has just one Major to his name – the 2013 Masters – but for a player of his talent, his trophy cabinet should contain more Major honours.

The 35-year-old Australian had a golden opportunity to break his Major duck in 2012 at the Open, played at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

On the 15th tee, Scott held a four-stroke lead over veteran Ernie Els. But Scott bogeyed the last four holes and Els kept his composure, which included a birdie on the 18th, to beat Scott by one.

The Big Easy had claimed an unlikely fourth Major championship.


4. So close for Monty at the 2006 US Open


Colin Montgomerie is often called the best golfer to never win a Major crown.

The Scotsman has a string of second place finishes to his name but that final push to bag the Holy Grail of a Major title eluded him.

Arguably his best chance came at the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.

Montgomerie was tied for the lead with Phil Mickelson as his perfect drive found the fairway on the 18th.

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But he cites having too long to think about his 7-iron shot as his undoing.

His heavy shot hit the rough to the side of the putting surface and a double-bogey followed. Mickelson also double-bogeyed and Australian Geoff Ogilvy claimed his first Major.

That one really hurt for Monty.


3.  Bunker bedlam at the 1961 Masters


The 1961 Masters was a tale of two bunkers.

Legendary American golfer Arnold Palmer was one stroke ahead of Gary Player heading into the final hole and on course to become the first player to retain the Masters.

Palmer perhaps had his mind on how he would look once again in the famous green jacket because he couldn’t have anticipated his game crumbling quite so dramatically.

Player, of South Africa, found the back bunker near the 18th green but managed to save par.

There was no such luck for Palmer as his bunker shot flew over the green. His next pitch rolled 15 feet past the pin and he missed the putt to score a double-bogey, meaning Player became the first non-American to win the Masters.

2. Meltdown for Jean at Carnoustie


I can remember watching this disaster unfold on the TV back in 1999.

Frenchman Jean Van de Velde, a relatively unknown player at Major championships, needed only a double-bogey on the 18th at Carnoustie to become the first Frenchman since 1907 to win the Open.

Van de Velde made poor, risky decisions when the smart thing to do would have been to play cautiously and take a poor score but ultimately win the title.

He found the rough, sand, water and even the grandstands on his way to a triple-bogey.

He eventually lost to Paul Lawrie in a play-off. Sacré bleu!


1. Final day shocker for The Shark


Aussie star Greg Norman had a bad day at the office at a very crucial moment.

A first Masters title was within touching distance after three excellent rounds in 1996.

However, a six-shot lead over Nick Faldo turned into a five-stroke deficit by the end of the day.

The Shark was left toothless after shooting an horrific 78 to Faldo’s impressive 67.

A major hiccup at the worst possible moment for the two-time Major champ.

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