Ernie Els earned his second career Open Championship win on Sunday, but it wasn't without a lot of help from Adam Scott.
Scott was four shots ahead with four holes left to play before bogeying the final four holes of the round in what was one of the most epic collapses in recent memory.
According to my British Open leaderboard, Scott entered the final round with a four-shot lead over Brandt Snedeker and a six-shot lead over Els, who was five under entering play on Sunday.
After shooting a 36 (+2) on the front nine, Els came back to birdie four holes on the back nine, including the 18th hole that sealed the victory.
After his improbable win, Els had this to say (via ESPN): "First of all, I feel for Adam Scott. He's a great friend of mine. Obviously, we both wanted to win very badly. But you know, that's the nature of the beast. That's why we're out here. You win, you lose."
It was a tough day for Scott, who seemingly had the title in his grasp as he approached the 15th hole. After his royal collapse, Scott tried to remain positive (via ESPN) saying, "I had it in my hands with four to go. I managed to hit a poor shot on each of the closing four holes. Look, I played so beautifully for most of the week. I shouldn't let this bring me down."
ESPN Stats & Info provided us with some information on just how improbable Els' comeback was with this tweet:
What was more surprising?
Ernie Els started the 4th round 6 shots behind Scott (T-2nd biggest 54-hole deficit overcome to win Open Championship.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 22, 2012
And perhaps Mike Greenberg of ESPN put Sunday's British Open into perspective perfectly when he tweeted:
Happy for Ernie Els, one of the class guys in sports. But this will be remembered for the guy who lost, not the guy who won.#britishopen— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) July 22, 2012
In the end, it was an enormous collapse by Adam Scott, but not to be forgotten is the persistence and poise displayed by the 42-year-old Ernie Els.
Follow me on Twitter @Pete_Schauer