We observe and catalog the most painful of golf chokes and gaffes for the same reason we slow down and look at car wrecks — to remind ourselves that it could've been us, and to thank whatever we thank that it wasn't. (Obviously, yipping a putt is orders of magnitude in difference from a car wreck, but you get where we're going.)
Anyway, how did Robert Garrigus' 18th-hole misfire on Sunday at the St. Jude Classic rank among the all-time golf blunders? It wasn't a major, true, but it would have been career journeyman Garrigus' first win on the PGA Tour, which adds a whole new level of gut-punch agony to the proceedings. We're not talking multi-hole collapses, we're talking single shots that went horribly wrong. Still, Garrigus is in some good company:
Phil Mickelson: At the 2006 U.S. Open, Mickelson had a two-shot lead on 16 and a one-shot lead on 18, then utterly fell apart when he hit a hospitality tent. It would take him nearly four years to win another major.
Kenny Perry: He stood on 18 at the 2009 Masters needing only a par to win. He bogeyed into a playoff and lost it all two holes later.
Stewart Cink: At the 2001 U.S. Open, Cink missed an 18-inch putt to get into a playoff. He'd get another chance at a major a few years later.
Michelle Wie: She forgot to sign her card at the 2008 State Farm Classic. Ouch. No getting around that one.
Payne Stewart: A near-duplicate of Garrigus' horror show. At the 1985 Byron Nelson, Stewart held a three-shot lead standing on 18. He double-bogeyed the hole as Bob Eastwood birdied ahead of him, then lost on the first playoff hole. (Thanks to Bill Jempty.)
Retief Goosen: On the 18th green at the 2001 U.S. Open — yep, that was an awful major — Goosen needed two putts to win. He missed both, including one inside 2 feet. But this is the only story on this list with a happy ending; Goosen won the next day in a playoff.
Painful to even think about. Let's move on, shall we? Unless, of course, you have more to add below.