Tuesday 20 March 2018

Golf’s most memorable meltdowns

Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

AFTER Rory McIlroy’s meltdown at the Honda Classic, we look at the most memorable instances when golfers buckled under the pressure.

1. Jean Van de Velde (1999 British Open)

The Frenchman entered the final hole at Carnoustie with a three-shot advantage but he suffered the most dramatic collapse in the history of golf.

Needing a double-bogey to secure a win. Van de Velde completely abandoned reason and logic as he choose to play aggressively and ended up in the deep rough. From there, he eventually had to take a drop and ultimately triple-bogeyed.

He did enter a play-off with Scotland’s Paul Lawrie and Justin Leonard but never recovered from his meltdwon and Lawrie went on to win.

2. Greg Norman (1996 Masters)

The Great White Shark entered the final round with a six shot lead over Nick Faldo but that quickly evaporated at Augusta.

Faldo had an excellent round as he shot a 67, but Norman really had nobody to blame but himself after he shot a 78 that included five bogeys and two doubles.

He went from having a six-shot advantage to trail Faldo by five shots at the end of play.

3. Phil Mickleson (2006 US Open)

Big Phil was going for his third consecutive major success at the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot and just needed a par on the last to hold off Geoff Ogilvy.

Instead of taking a safe option, Mickleson used a driver off the tee and sent his shot well off course and onto a tent.

He still had a chance of hitting a low shot out onto the fairway but instead instead elected to try and hit his ball around a tee with dire consequences.

He carded a double bogey and lost the tournament by a single stroke

4. Arnold Palmer (1966 US Open)

Even the greatest golfers suffer meltdowns and even the legendary Palmer suffered at the hands of the golfing gods.

With nine holes to go Palmer looked to have an insurmountable seven shot lead.

Palmer struggled on the back nine, but much of the reason for his loss was the hot play of Billy Casper, who shot a 32 over the final nine holes. Palmer managed to save face by forcing an 18-hole playoff which he lost by four shots.

5. Thomas Bjorn (2003 Open Championship)

The Dane suffered one of the most painful defeats in the history of the game at Royal St George’s. Leading by two-strokes on the 16th tee, Bjorn looked set to become a major winner.

Things took a turn for the worst as it took three shots to get out of a green-side bunker on the 16th as the ball twice rolled down the slope and back into the sand. T

his led to a double bogey on the hole, and he followed it up with a bogey on the 17th, allowing Ben Curtis to steal the win.

To this day, that sand trap is affectionately known as "Bjorn's Bunker."

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