COMMENTARY | When Adam Scott woke up Sunday morning with a chance to make golf history, he couldn't have imagined it would be due to a horrific turn of events that would see him miss out on his best chance to win his first major.
Scott is the latest victim of a championship train wreck as he blew a 5-shot lead going into the final round of the 2012 British Open. The most devastating aspect of his collapse is the fact that he was playing so well going into Sunday and seemed to be in control of every aspect of his game.
"I had it in my hands with four to go," Scott told reporters. "I'm very disappointed. I played so beautifully for most of the week."
He played so well, in fact, that he looked unbeatable as Tiger Woods and a host of other former major champions like Graeme McDowell and Zach Johnson dropped shots throughout the day. The wheels would come off for Scott in a big way, however.
He had a lead of four shots with four holes to play. Incredibly, he would finish with four bogeys and effectively lose The Open championship after having it completely in his grasp. The final two holes were where things really went wrong.
On the par-four 17th after hitting a beautiful tee shot, Scott made a critical unforced error that would ultimately cost him The Open. He pulled his iron approach into the thick rough left of the green. With virtually no chance to get up and down for a par, he ended up with a bogey that would shake his confidence and put him into a tie with eventual champion Ernie Els for the lead with one hole to play.
What happened on 18 next was simply hard to watch.
His 3-metal off the tee went straight into one of the infamous bunkers at Royal Latham & St. Annes and forced Scott to play sideways into the fairway. His third shot was a brilliant approach that found the green and gave him a great look at par and a potential playoff with Els, but it wasn't meant to be as he missed it inches left.
The collapse is well-documented even at this early stage following the tournament. But what's more notable is that the Scott's failure to win isn't as much of a product of him playing poorly as it was Els being the lone player that was able to brave the difficult conditions among the players in contention. Of the top five finishers, only Els (-2) and world No. 1 Luke Donald (-1) finished the final round under par.
It was all about survival from the very beginning of the day as the conditions were worse than in the first three rounds and had an obvious effect on the scores throughout the day. Case in point, the next best finishers behind Scott at 6-under were Woods and Brandt Snedeker at 3-under for the tournament.
That speaks volumes as to how difficult the course was playing and how well Els played to earn the victory.
What Scott will take away from this remains to be seen, but he's too good of a player to fade into oblivion. Though the end of his tournament was strikingly Jean Van de Velde-ian, he is likely to bounce back stronger and find himself in contention for many more majors to come.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the PGA TOUR. He has written for Southern California's Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com. For more insight, you can follow him on Twitter.
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