British Open 2012: Adam Scott's Collapse Is Worst in Golf History

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIJuly 27, 2012

July 21, 2012; St. Annes, ENGLAND; Adam Scott reacts after putting on the 1st hole during the third round of the 2012 British Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club.  Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE

Adam Scott’s collapse at the British Open will go down as one of the biggest in golf major history. Scott played to win for three days but ultimately fell short after an astonishing four straight bogeys to finish the tournament.

It wasn’t even that Ernie Els played that great. A collapse by Brandt Snedeker and inconsistent play by Tiger Woods opened the door for him to slowly slip into contention.

It was Scott’s four straight bogeys—not Els’ dominant play—that handed the championship to Els.

In throwing away the title, Scott lost his chance at his first major championship win. Scott, who played great through the first three rounds, is still looking for the elusive major championship win. Can he find it after a meltdown of this magnitude?

Nobody remembers second place. However, years from now, the 2012 British Open’s runner-up will be remembered more than the winner himself. That’s how you know Scott’s collapse ranks among the worst in the history of the sport.

The severity of this collapse isn’t just that he held a four-stroke lead heading into the final four holes. Sure, others have blown leads on a final hole and then gone on to lose in a playoff. But for Scott, this torture was slow and painful. It came at a time when he could see a light at the end of a tunnel. It came hole by hole, bogey by bogey, until all there was left was a consolation prize.

No, folks, Scott did not crash and burn all at once. He suffered a painful and slow death that will never be forgotten in golf circles.

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How does Scott’s meltdown compare to some of the other memorable golf major collapses?

Arnold Palmer at the 1966 U.S. Open

There is no denying Palmer will go down as one of the best golfers in the sport. It’s mind-boggling to think about how someone with his pedigree could have lost a seven-stroke lead on the back-nine with the U.S. Open within his reach. He didn’t play that poorly but found himself slowly sinking as if in quicksand as Billy Casper got hot down the stretch.

After losing the lead, he ended in a tie with Casper and an 18-hole playoff was set. During that, he lost another two-stroke lead with eight holes to go. He ended up losing by four strokes.

Arnie didn’t collapse as badly as Scott did. Casper played magnificently and Palmer didn’t do very much to stop him.

Phil Mickelson’s collapse at the 2006 U.S. Open

Lefty blew his chance at capturing a U.S. Open title by double-bogeying the final hole. His tee shot sailed off the green and his second shot hit a tree. Unlike Scott, Mickelson truly crashed and burned in an instant to lose outright to Geoff Ogilvy by one stroke.

Jean Van de Velde’s meltdown at the final hole of the 1999 British Open

Van de Velde’s collapse at Royal Lytham is the biggest competition to deny Adam Scott of the distinguished honor of the worst golf collapse in history. Because this also happened at Lytham, Scott has some stiff competition for holding the course honor to himself.

Van de Velde held a three-shot lead heading into the final hole. He ended up triple bogeying the hole after a trip to the rough and bunker. He didn’t just crash and burn like Lefty, he spontaneously combusted!

Sure, there are other memorable meltdowns in golf history. Do you agree? Is Scott’s the worst of all-time?

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