With this year’s Open Championship denied to golf fans all around the world due to Coronavirus, it may be second best, but looking back at Opens past, and savouring some of the most significant single golf shots – good and bad – to have adorned the world’s most prestigious ‘Major’ in living memory might help ease – if not altogether eradicate – withdrawal symptoms and pangs of ‘Wish I was there,’ syndrome.
So here’s a highly-subjective selection of some Misses to forget – in the absence of real, live Open golf. We’ll start at number 5 and work our way daily to top spot in the hall of shame!
#5 141st Open Championship, Royal Lytham & St Annes, 19th – 22nd July 2012
Having endured an Open Championship the previous year in which the Claret Jug was, some might argue, more lost by Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson than won by Darren Clarke, never the most satisfactory of outcomes for the world’s oldest and most prestigious tournament in men’s professional golf, history was about to rapidly repeat itself.
12-months-later and that uncomfortable outcome had initially appeared to be on the verge of being reversed, Australian arch-underachiever Adam Scott finally finding his voice and his form, a sparkling opening round 64, six-under-par was followed by a steady-as-she-goes 67 giving the Australian, playing his 46th ‘Major’ and 13th Open Championship by far the best chance of getting his hands on the Claret Jug to date.
Extending his advantage to four clear shots going into Sunday’s final round, everything appeared set fair and on course for the serene coronation of one of the most stylish and accomplished players in world golf – despite that most unwelcome moniker as the, ‘Best player never to win a ‘Major,’ – hanging over him like a sword of Damocles.
But, with four to play the Scott dream was still alive and kicking, before that sword fell, seemingly without warning from nowhere; after a reassuring birdie on 14, the Australian contrived to bogey the last four holes – hardly Open Championship-winning form – his apparent mastery of his tried-and-trusted broom-handle putter – still in the pre-‘anchoring’ era – deserting him, dragging an unconvincing 10ft putt left of the hole on the 18th which would have put him into a tie with leader in the clubhouse, Ernie Els and a play-off, thus handing the South African an unlikely second Claret Jug and fourth ‘Major’ title.
It had been, thanks to Australian Scott’s apparent collapse of self-belief that he could confidently walk through the Open Championship door to greatness and immortality (he was to make amends by winning The Masters the following year), made all too easy for the ‘Big Easy,’ another Open Championship lost rather than won in distinctly uncomfortable fashion.