Katie Taylor, Roy Keane, Sonia O’Sullivan. We in Ireland love a winner. But if there’s one thing we love more than a winner, it’s a plucky loser, an underdog, a ‘nearly man’. Their names are as legendary as those who have eclipsed their achievements.
With the 83rd edition of The Masters teeing off on Thursday 11th April, our friends at www.golfbidder.co.uk take a look at some of the biggest meltdowns in the history of golf’s most famous tournament….
2016 – Jordan Spieth
The most famous Masters meltdown – and another victim of the dreaded ‘Amen Corner’ – is Jordan Spieth.
Was the pressure of winning back-to-back Masters, a first in the tournament’s history, too much for Spieth? After an impressive front 9, Spieth arrived at the turn with a 5 shot lead. A bogey on 11 was a minor slip but a botched tee shot into the drink on 12, followed by a chunked pitch back into the water and a third into the greenside bunker, produced a painful quadruple-bogey – a career first.
Although Spieth tried to recover, England’s Danny Willet stole the show.
2011 – Rory McIlroy
It’s hard to imagine a better start to Sunday at Augusta, teeing off your first hole with a four-shot lead. However, the course’s infamous ‘Amen Corner’ has ruined many a golfer’s dream of wearing the Green Jacket, Rory McIlroy included.
A wayward tee shot on the 10th which took spectators to the doorstep of a guest cabin TV viewers rarely see, left Rory with a triple-bogey. He followed that up with a four-putt on the 12th and his tee shot on 13 found Rae’s Creek.
For McIlroy, what had started as a walk in the park soon became a walk of shame, falling from the top of the leaderboard to outside the top 10.
1996 – Greg Norman
Despite winning two Majors, Norman also finished as a runner-up on eight occasions, most famously at the 1996 Masters.
‘The Great White’ teed off on Sunday with a six-shot lead over Nick Faldo. But a round which should have been plain sailing for Norman left him lost at sea. After three straight bogeys on holes 9 through to 11, Norman managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Faldo took on the role of the shark, circling his opponent and closing the day with a round score of 67, leaving Norman five shots behind and without Augusta’s sought-after Green Jacket.
2009 – Kenny Perry
We’ve all done it, you see the finish line and the excitement of winning gets the better of you and you flop. This curse struck Kenny Perry in 2009.
Leading the Masters by two with two to play, Perry may as well have had one arm in the Green Jacket but, sadly, no one told him that’s no way to swing a club.
Over the final four holes, two of which were a sudden death play-off, Perry fell short of the green with poor iron approaches and ultimately lost out. Perry still won the hearts of the viewers with his modest post-round reflections: “Great players make it happen, and your average players don’t.”
1979 – Ed Sneed
Starting the Sunday with a five-shot lead, Sneed played solid golf through 15 holes. Perhaps he needed reminding that golf is an 18-hole game.
On the 16th, Sneed three-putted for bogey; lipped out the cup on the 17th for a short par; and watched his par putt miss the hole by millimetres on the 18th.
These nano-misses were the stuff of nightmares for Sneed but for Masters rookie Fuzzy Zoeller, they were a blessing from above and allowed him to reach a sudden death play-off, where he birdied the second hole to win the tournament.
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