In every major tournament, we see early favorites who crumble once play turns into the weekend, and the 2013 U.S. Open was no exception.
Actually, the year's second major was especially unforgiving this weekend, as the treacherous Merion Golf Club course proved to be nearly impossible to master.
In fact, it was impossible to score even par, as winner Justin Rose beat out the field with a one-over-par score that secured the first major championship of his career.
We saw some of the world's top golfers put up uncharacteristic scores throughout the action at Merion, and that's putting it lightly. At one point, Sergio Garcia even shot a 10 on the par-four 15th hole.
Let's take a look at the biggest favorites early on who crumbled down the stretch.
There isn't much to be said about the way Tiger Woods handled going into Merion as the favorite.
Despite a five-year major drought, Woods has re-emerged as the world's No. 1 player and looked to be the player to watch at the U.S. Open. Alongside Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, there were high expectations for the trio to say the least.
None of the three turned into a contender during the weekend, but Tiger's struggles are especially disappointing considering the expectations for him. Every major seems to be set up for a Tiger victory to end the drought, but he just continues to come up empty-handed.
Woods finished at 13-over par, and Justin Ray of ESPN highlighted just how bad that is in comparison to his other U.S. Open appearances.
Tiger Woods finishes the U.S. Open +13, his worst score to par in this event as a professional.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) June 16, 2013
Going into the British Open, I can guarantee you his name will still dominate the talk. And it should, as he is undoubtedly the most consistent player as far as contending on Sundays.
But until we see it, it's getting harder and harder to believe.
All too often, we see a player take a step back immediately after winning his first major, but that wasn't expected of Adam Scott. After winning the Masters, he seemed ready to continue his roll and become one of the world's elite golfers.
But he never really seemed like a major contender once Day 2 started, and he began to tank with a seven-over-par score through two rounds. Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel were one under at the time.
Scott will be able to rebound from his 15-over-par finish—one that will only land him $28,961 (per ESPN)—but it's concerning to see him show signs of Bubba Watson after his 2012 win at Augusta, Ga.
Watson never really emerged in another major that year, and it would be disappointing if Scott did the same in 2013. When he's on, his dominance is some of the most entertaining golf out there. I expect Scott to rebound quickly and contend late in the British Open.
Sergio Garcia may not have had such a bad round if it weren't for a 10 on the par-four 15th Saturday, but that doesn't excuse his poor performance at Merion.
Coming straight off a slew of controversies involving Tiger Woods, it's safe to say Garcia had some pressure and adversity to face from the public and the tough-nosed Philadelphia fans coming into the tournament.
But you always expect Garcia to be in contention, and that simply wasn't the case this weekend. He finished with a 15-over-par score for the tournament.
Merion proved to be tough over the course of the tournament, but Garcia simply could not keep the ball in bounds. This is a serious problem that he'll face at any course, and if he can't keep from these major shanks, it'll continue to haunt his performances.