There are several golf tournaments each year, but only four have the honor of being called majors. They can make or break a career and generally give the players the most competition throughout the year being set up with the roughest conditions and the most pressure.
This year Adam Scott, from Australia and seeking his first major tournament victory found himself at the top of the leaderboard the first three days of the tournament. Beginning the final round of the Open Championship he had a four stroke lead, and on Sunday afternoon at Royal Lytham he had lost by a stroke to the now 4 time major winner from South Africa, Ernie Els.
Adam could not have handled defeat any better than he did. He was incredibly graceful on the course, in the press room and especially on the 18th green when some knucklehead asked him if he thought he lost because of the 3 bogeys he had coming into 18…
“It was a pretty sloppy, ugly finish by me,” he told the Golf Channel.
This is just the way golf is. It comes with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Just ask Scott’s fellow countryman Greg Norman who was well known for meltdowns, although, I’m not sure this could be considered a meltdown.
I will never forget sitting in my living room in 1996 watching the Masters and Greg literally handing over the green jacket to Nick Faldo. Up until then, I had never seen a professional athlete lose their mental game and forget how to play the sport they play.
Scotty started the day with a bogey on 1, missing a putt to the left. He followed it up with a birdie on two and a bogey on three. After a birdie on 14, the trouble began. He bogyed 15, followed that up with a bogey on 16 when he missed a 3 footer to the left (lipped out). On 17 his approach shot got stuck in the wind, took a bad bounce and ended up in the rough just left and behind the green for another bogey.
All the while, Ernie Els is sinking a birdie putt on 18 to put him and Adam in a tie.
For the first time all week, Adam took a three wood on the tee of the 18th instead of an iron. He put his drive into the bunker, hit out of the bunker and was on the green with his third shot. He had to make a 10 foot putt for par to force a playoff with Ernie, but once again, Scotty missed to the left. \
Heartbreak for Adam and such a huge victory for Ernie.
In April, Ernie was not extended an invitation to the Masters because he didn’t meet the qualifications (even though he was a 3 time major winner). He has struggled over the past few years with his game, family issues (his son has autism and he’s dedicated a lot of his time to the cause), and injuries. Now he’s exempt into next year’s Masters and is once again a Major Champion!
What happened to the other guys?
Graeme McDowell was also paired with Adam in the final group on Sunday. He finished at -2, in a tie for 5th place after shooting 5 over par. This is the second major in a row he’s been in the final pairing on Sunday.
Tiger Woods finished -3, in a tie for 3rd and shot 3 over par today. At one point he was stuck in a greenside bunker and had to get down onto his knees just to swing at the ball!
Brandt Snedeker shot four over today and finished tied for 3rd with Tiger at -3.
The only guys in the top 10 who finished under par in Sunday’s round were Els, -2 and Luke Donald, -1 who finished in a tie for 5th.