The Worst Chokes In Golf

Published 04/08/2008 21:13:56

Chokes are more common than heroic victories in sport - it's easy to blow it to lack of concentration or fear. Golf is generally believed to be a largely mental game - the biggest guys don't win, the ones who can hold their nerve do. So let's take a look at the biggest chokes in golf history...


1. Jean Van De Velde - 1999 The Open

Van De Velde was a relatively unknown player, certainly not tipped to be in the driving seat on the 18th at Carnoustie. Unfortunately so it proved, the Frenchman found his ball in the sand, rough, the stands and, most famously, in the water.

The enduring image of the tournament is a bewildered Van De Velde taking off his shoes and socks to play a ball half submerged in water. He changed his mind but still made a triple bogey and lost to Paul Lawrie.


2. Greg Norman - 1996 Masters

It's unfair to characterise Norman's career by his numerous chokes; the "great white shark" was a phenomenal player, consistent and highly successful. However his choke in the '96 Masters is stuff of legend.

The Aussie started the final round with a six shot lead over eventual winner Nick Faldo. Norman eventually shot 78 whereas Faldo shot 67 - enough to swing from six ahead to five behind. Norman didn't feature in another Major until 2008's shock Open Championship charge.


3. Phil Mickelson - 2007 US Open

Going for his third successive major, "Lefty" had a terrible last round and hit only two fairways out of fourteen as well as hitting a hospitality tent and a tree. The burden of success most definitely weighed down on this occasion.


4. Retief Goosen - 2005 US Open

Despite a reputation for being cool under pressure, the goose choked spectacularly here. This could have been his third major in five years, instead he turned a three shot lead into an 11th place finish. 

"I messed up badly. I obviously threw this away," Goosen said. "It was just one of those rounds … I couldn't make a putt to save my life." 


5. Scott Hoch - 1989 Masters

Hoch had a one shot lead over Nick Faldo at the 17th but missed a straightforward par putt and was forced to enter a tie. That's not the choke though - what followed is the choke.

On the first playoff hole, Faldo his a bogey 5. Hoch meanwhile had a birdie putt to win. He could two putt and still win the thing. What happened? He three putted - many believe he took too long analysing his 3 foot putt.

Faldo went on to win at the next hole.





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