Ernie Els / Getty Images
Every major has a winner and a loser, and this week's British Open was no different. Ernie Els came out the big winner, while Adam Scott ... well, we all know where he lands on this list. Here's a look at our winners and losers from Royal Lytham and St Annes.
Ernie Els — The 2012 British Open will be remembered for Adam Scott's epic collapse, but let's give Ernie Els credit for putting together one heck of a back-nine run to win his second Claret Jug. Starting the day six shots back of Scott he looked to be a non-factor after going out in 2-over 36. But Els put it all together over his last nine holes, closing with four birdies. The crazy thing is the back nine could have been even better. His birdie putt slid by the hole on 16, and he left his attempt on 17 just short. Say what you want about Els being handed the trophy, but if he doesn't make that birdie on 18, we may be talking about Adam Scott as a major champion. The guy made a clutch putt when it counted -- something he'd been unable to do over the last six months -- and won a major. That's all that matter.
Luke Donald — The only thing that matters for Donald at this point in his career is winning a major, but the silver lining for him this week is that he somehow managed to backdoor a top-5 finish with a 1-under 69 on Sunday. Over the last couple of majors, he's had at least one bad round that's knocked him out of contention, but this week Donald managed to put together four solid rounds of golf to finish five shots back. It wasn't good enough to win, but that fact that Donald didn't implode at any point during the week is a good sign. The next step is finding a couple more birdies to get in contention.
Geoff Ogilvy — Ever since Ogilvy won a the U.S. Open back in 2006, his major championship record has been awful. In the last three years he missed the cut seven times in 10 major starts, leading you to believe he would be a cut casualty this week. However, Ogilvy decided to bring his game to Royal Lytham and managed to post only his second top-10 major finish in the last three years, thanks to a final round 67.
Nicolas Colsaerts — We gave the Belgian a lot of grief for going 65-77 over the first two days of the tournament, but he sure did turn things around over the weekend, closing with 72-65 to pick up his first top-10 major finish. The 5-under 65 was the lowest round of the day on Sunday, and considering how tough the course was playing, you can definitely see the guy has some serious game. We'll have to wait and see if he can put it together for four rounds, but for the moment, Colsaerts is a guy to watch at the PGA Championship.
Royal Lytham's bunkers — The 206 bunkers at Royal Lytham were as brutal as advertised. If you need proof, just take a look at what they did to Adam Scott's major championship chances, after he was forced to blast out sideways from the fairway on the final hole of the tournament. Padraig Harrington may have sounded crazy at the beginning of the week when he said that the bunkers "might as well have red stakes around," but by Sunday afternoon, he looked like a prophet. No doubt about it, the Royal Lytham's bunkers were tough as nails all week long.
Adam Scott — The Aussie collapsed at the worst possible time on Sunday afternoon. That's pretty all that needs to be said. After looking unbeatable for three days, Scott took a four-shot lead into Sunday and caved under the pressure, bogeying his last four holes to lose by a shot to Ernie Els. Els said during the trophy presentation that Scott still has a bunch of majors left in him, but you have to wonder how he's going to rebound from the epic meltdown. This is something that, unfortunately, could stay with him for the rest of his career.
Tiger Woods — Another major championship, another missed opportunity. It feels like this is becoming a running theme with the 14-time major winner, who hasn't posted an under par round on the weekend at a major championship this year. Once again, Woods looked off with his distance, screaming at the ball on a number of occasions to go "one yard." The funny thing is, one yard wasn't the difference between a T-3 finish and the Claret Jug. Woods missed countless putts throughout the week and never looked comfortable with his short irons, laying well back of the pin on a number of occasions so he could attack the hole with a long iron. You can't expect to contend when you leave yourself with long putts. The T-3 was his best finish in a major since a T-4 at the 2011 Masters, but at this point in his career, padding the stats won't get it done.
Graeme McDowell — McDowell once again failed to get anything going in the final round of a major. Playing in the last group on Sunday for the second straight major, he struggled with his swing for much of the day. Four back of the lead to start the round, a lot of people believed McDowell had the game to win if Scott collapsed, but the Ulsterman blinked first with an awful snap-hook on the par-5 11th that led to a bogey. He followed it up with two more bogeys on the back nine to fall completely out of contention. You can't give the guy a lot of grief because he was four back of Scott, but for the second major in a row, the guy leading struggled and McDowell was unable to capitalize. That's never a good sign.
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