US Open Golf 2013: Ranking the Top 10 Head Cases at Merion

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US Open Golf 2013: Ranking the Top 10 Head Cases at Merion
Ian Walton/Getty Images
Sergio Garcia may be the poster boy for head cases.

Imagine being in the lead with only two holes to play at the U.S. Open only to misplay your next shots and lose the lead and your chance at a major.

That is what happened to Jim Furyk in 2012.  Perhaps the only way to rationalize his failure is that it wasn't his swing that failed him; it was his head.

Head cases do that.  They let their heads get in the way of their games and can't play through it.

These golfers could be characterized by overt emotional outbursts, club-throwing, wild swings of great play and record-making poor play, terrible choices, physical tics that delay their game and outright bad behavior.

Such players are often comedic, mostly frustrating and always disappointing to both their fans and themselves.  Their antics can lead to abject failure; think David Duvall, who fell from the pinnacle of fame while ballooning in weight and scores.

There may be nothing worse in all of sports than to lose the grasp of glory not by a physical miscue or by being beaten by a foe, but by your own mental implosion. 

As fans, it gives us pause every time we see one of these players with the game on the line.  Will he chunk a chip shot?  Leave a birdie putt short? Duck-hook a tee shot into the woods?

As we head into the U.S. Open, let's look at 10 players who epitomize the head case as we know it and wonder if they will be able to play through their own mental barriers while on one of golf's biggest stages.

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