July 22, 2012

Ernie Els Rallies to Win British Open as Adam Scott Collapses: Adam Scott was four shots ahead with four holes to play but bogeyed them all allowing Ernie Els to claim the championship.

Tiger Woods shot a triple-bogey on the sixth hole and finished at 3 under.

posted by justgary to golf at 03:36 PM - 3 comments

I got around to watching the replays of the final hour or so of the Open Championship, and it was tough watching Scott pull a "Norman" like that. He plays 68 holes of great golf, and then he "mini-Van-De-Velde" the final four holes, and loses? Ouch.

posted by grum@work at 09:18 PM on July 22, 2012

The concern is that Scott has been a "budding star" for quite a while now.

McElroy was newer to the glare of the big lights when he had his epic meltdown and showed he could shake off the effect and move beyond it.

Scott already expected more of himself that he had proven in his career before this tournament. Hope he can dig out from this crushing disappointment.

Don't know what's worse, going off the rails in one horrific hole as McElroy did, or feeling the sand slip agonizingly through the fingers while bogeying the last four holes as Scott did.

Hope there's a dinner with Tom Watson in Scott's future to help lend some perspective.

posted by beaverboard at 01:46 AM on July 23, 2012

The sporting press love a car crash, but I'm not sure I'm buying that this was one. It's a feature of Lytham that I've never liked that the final stretch of holes is disproportionately difficult, requiring a player to make a score early then hang on to as much of it as possible on the way in. That doesn't tend to make for an exciting finish. Compare it to Augusta on Sunday where the last six holes have two reachable par fives and gathering pins at 14, 16 and 18. That combination produces great excitement year after year.

For me, Scott's big mistake yesterday was being too conservative earlier in the round when he had a five shot lead. He needed to turn that into a 7 or 8 shot lead, and then he could have waved to the crowd over the closing stretch.

Regardless, he lost it; but he's not one of life's intellectuals so I doubt he'll pick over the bones of it too much. If he gets himself in position again in a major, he might just do a McIlroy and put it to bed by ten shots! At 25/1, he looks a half decent bet for the PGA.

Let's take nothing from the winner though. Over four days, Ernie hit one fewer shot than everyone else, which is all it takes to win. He joins some pretty elite company in the process:

Only 27 people in more than 150 years of major championship golf have won 4 or more majors. Only Hagen, Jones, Vardon, Player, Palmer, Trevino, Watson, Seve, Harrington, Woods and now Els have won majors in three different countries (England, Scotland and the USA). Only five players have won majors in three different decades - Vardon, Taylor, Player, Nicklaus and Els (another tragedy from Turnberry - if Watson had won it, he'd have won in three different decades with a decade's gap!).

The longest gap between first and most recent victory in a major: Nicklaus, 24 years; Player, 19 years; and now Els, 18 years. (Tom would have nailed that record too, obviously, with a 35 year gap between his first win in 1975 and his last in 2009 - not that it still hurts to think about it. Man, it hurts me, what must it do to him?)

And finally, just because it's Ernie, we need the immortal line from his grandmother when he won his second US Open in 1997. The Els family were watching back home, so granny had long since gone to bed. Ernie's mum woke her in the small hours to tell her the good news. Her reply was priceless: "That's lovely, dear. But when's he going to stop playing golf and get himself a job?"

posted by JJ at 07:41 AM on July 23, 2012

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