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.

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

9. McIlroy blows four shot lead

Rory McIlroy went into the final day of the 2011 Masters holding a four shot lead.

The Northern Irishman’s lead had been cut to one shot heading into the final day and on the 10th tee the wheels truly came off.

McIlroy pulled his tee shot that hit a branch and ended up in the cabins lining the left hand side of the 10th hole. He went on to triple bogey the 10th before three putting from less than 10 feet to bogey the 11th and then four putted the 12th to card a double bogey.

The damage was well and truly done on the 13th tee as he pulled his tee shots into the trees and his ball ended up in Rae’s Creek.

McIlroy carded a final round of 80 as Charl Schwartzel took home the green jacket.

8. Jason Dufner opens the door for Keegan Bradley

Jason Dufner looked set to take home is maiden major crown at the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club as he held a five shot lead on the 15th tee of the final round.

Dufner then bogeyed the 15th, 16th and 17th before parring the last to take the tournament to a three hole play-off between himself and Keegan Bradley.

He lost the play-off, shooting level par and Bradley shooting one under. Dufner wouldn’t have to wait long for his first major as  he won the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

7. Phil Mickelson’s US Open duck continues

Phil Mickelson has never won the US Open. It’s the only trophy he needs to chalk off the career grand slam.

Lefty had only hit two fairways all day and had been spraying his driver all over the place. His decision to take that very club off the last tee will haunt him forever. Unless he lifts the US Open trophy in the future.

He hit his tee shot into trees and instead of advancing the ball along the fairway he went for the green only to hit a tree and the ball land a short distance in front of him.

He then hit his next shot into a bunker a couldn’t get up and down and carded a double bogey on the last.

6. Monty follows Mickelson with double at the last

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 like Phil Mickelson.

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

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.

5. Adam Scott at the 2012 Open

Adam Scott

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. Spieth’s plunges as Willett takes green jacket

Jordan Spieth was cruising during the 2016 Masters. The Texan opened with rounds of 66-74-73 at a wind swept Augusta National.

Many thought he was nailed on for his second green jacket in a row as he headed for the back nine on Sunday.

He made few mistakes but still held a one shot lead on the famous 12th tee.

Spieth hit his tee shot into Rae’s Creek and then decided to take a drop which he chunked into the water again. He then hit his next dropped ball in to the back bunker before carding a quadruple bogey 7.

Danny Willett went on to become the first Englishman to win the Masters since Nick Faldo in 1996.

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

Jean Van de Velde

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

Greg Norman

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.