It was great to see Bill Horschel win at Cherry Hills after his cringeworthy choke job at the Deutsche Bank Championship a week prior. Naturally, it got me thinking…what were the worst (or best) choke-jobs in golf history?
5. Billy Horschel at the 2014 Deutsche Bank Championship: We all know Billy’s redemption story over the weekend at the 2014 BMW Championship, holding off Bubba and Sergio, however, we cannot soon forget Billy’s collapse the week before at the Deutsche Bank Championship. On the 18th tee of the final round, after birdieing the hole the first 3 days of the tournament, it seemed to be in the bag for him. That was surely the case until his shot found the hazard after a chunk shot even I rarely hit, eliminating his chances for even a playoff.
4. Rory in the 2011 Masters: This one really made me question Rory’s mental game. In the final round he had a 4 shot lead, when things started to go drastically wrong. When his tee shot went astray on 13 that day, his quest for being the 2nd youngest player to win the Masters quickly vanished. The way he acted after his poor shots lead to intense scrutiny from the media and speculation in regards to his ability to preform under pressure. Well, he has since proved all those doubters very, very wrong.
3. Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters: This and Rorys 2011 final day at the Masters were pretty close in my eyes. Norman had the lead after the first 3 rounds heading into Sunday with a 6-stroke lead. Nick Faldo, who went on to win made up the deficit by shooting an amazing 67 to Normans 78, thus eliminating “the sharks” chances to win his first major. Norman was never able to pull off a Masters victory, and a fan or not, it was collapses like this that stopped him.
2. Jean Van De Velde at the 1999 British Open: Jean almost became a cinderella story in 1999 from little experience rubbing shoulders with the titans of golf. On the 18th tee Sunday he held a 3-stroke lead over the field; many people turned off the TV thinking the tournament was over. However, Jean proceeded to find the rough, the sand, the water and even the grandstands. That day was essentially the definition of letting the pressure get to you. After eventually finding the green and sinking his putt, he carded an embarrassing triple-bogey and lost in a playoff, eliminating his chances of becoming the first Frenchman to win The Open since 1907. Hit 7 iron off the tee, Jean!
1. Phil Mickelson in the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot: This one sticks with me (and is also spoken about in “Entourage” - “Baby, the kid is melting down like Phil Mickelson at Winged Foot.”) lefty had the lead on the 18th hole of the tournament and all he needed was a par to win. Unfortunately he made a double bogey, crushing his hopes in a 3rd-straight major and his first U.S. Open. Phil could have been scarred for life from this hole, or he could do what he did, and win 4 more majors after. That number will continue to grow!
Well, there you have it folks; my top 5 chokes in golf - if you feel I got any of these wrong, or left out some major collapses, please comment below!