How Adam Scott “Choked” at the 2012 Open

Adam Scott has still yet to win a Major.
Adam Scott has still yet to win a Major. Reuters

Approaching the 18th tee at Royal Lytham &St. Annes Golf club, Adam Scott looked up at the scoreboard and his suspicions regarding the ground trembling roar of the crowd that occurred while he was on the 17th fairway were confirmed.

Ernie Els had rolled in a birdie on the 72nd green to post a 7-under final score. And after three straight bogeys, he had to par 18 to force a playoff.

Scott elected to hit a fairway metal off of the tee, and found one of the many fairway bunkers that litter the 18th hole. Up against the front wall of the bunker, the only shot Scott had was to pitch out sideways, giving him a 150 yards shot to the hole. An incredible approach shot left him a little less than 10 feet below the hole, and he had a great chance at forcing a playoff with Els.

Scott took a few minutes analyzing the putt, and wasted no time standing over the ball to stroke it. After the ball first bounced off the putter, it seemed like an eternity as the ball rolled at exactly the right speed, but the ball just missed the left edge of the hole.

The improbable had happened. Ernie Els, who started the round six shots behind the leader Scott, had climbed back and won his second Open championship.

So the question arises: Did Els win the Open title or did Scott simply lose it?

Scott was unflappable for the first three rounds of the tournament, posting 6-under, 3-under, and 2-under in the first three rounds, respectively. In those rounds, he recorded 15 birdies and four bogeys.

In the final round, he rolled in two birdies and committed seven bogeys - four of which came on the last four holes.

Apart from the 18th hole, Scott found every fairway with his driver, and set himself up perfectly with low yardage approach shots. After making a birdie on the 14th hole, the golf world saw Scott with his hand on the Claret Jug, only needing to par in to realistically win the Open.

Instead, a wedge shot on the 15th hole found the green side bunker. After a decent bunker shot, Scott would miss the 15-foot par putt. Being set up perfectly in the fairway on 16, he would knock the ball onto the back of the green, leaving himself a long birdie putt.

An average putt at best would follow, leaving him a five-footer for par, which lipped out of the left edge of the hole. The 17th saw another perfect drive, but a wayward iron shot would put him in the infamous thick rough to the left of the green.

Scott would impressively put it on the putting surface, but just did not hit it hard enough and made his third consecutive bogey, putting him even with Els.

The rest is history.

This wasn't the first time Scott barely missed out on Major immortality. In the 2011 Masters, he saw the two-shot lead he posted after the final round get erased by would-be champion Charl Schwartzel, who made birdies on the last four holes to rob Scott of his first genuine opportunity at a Major championship.

Instead, Scott's name now will be remembered with others who have choked on the last day of the Open championship, like Sergio Garcia, who wasted away a four shot lead at the 2007 Open and lost to Paddy Harrington in a playoff, as well as Jean Van de Velde, who wasted a three-shot lead on the 18th hole and lost in a playoff to Paul Lawrie.

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