7 Worst Collapses in Major History

There wasn’t much enjoyable about watching Jordan Spieth’s meltdown at the Masters Sunday afternoon, unless you’re a big fan of Danny Willett.

It was the first real showcase of Spieth being less than impenetrable in his quick ascension into golf’s elite over the past three years, and will probably draw him more attention at the US Open in two months than he would have received even if he had won the Masters for a second straight year.

Fox Sports has already declared it the worst one-hole meltdown in Major history, and to put that in perspective and to grimly honor Spieth’s quadruple bogey 7 on No. 12 last Sunday, here’s a look at the 7 worst collapses in Major history.

  1. Jean Va de Velde, 1999 Open Championship – If only Spieth had taken his shoes off and gotten into the water to look for his ball, the iconic image of the Frenchman doing the same at Carnoustie 17 years ago might actually disappear from our collective memory. Unlikely though, because honestly who blows a three-shot lead going to 18? The wayward Frenchman, that’s who. He launched shots into the bunker, the grandstand and the Burn before making a nice putt to triple-bogey and force a three-way playoff, which he then lost to Paul Lawrie
  2. Rory McIlroy, 2011 Masters – The young phenom was 10-under through two rounds and 12-under through three, but saw that a four-stroke lead shrink to one thanks to a 2-over on the front nine Sunday. That was just the beginning as he triple-bogeyed No. 10 to fall two strokes behind eventual Charl Schwartzel, bogeyed No. 11 and double-bogeyed 12. By the time he bogeyed 15, he had gone from a stroke up to seven behind the leaders. He would finish 4-under, a miserable 8-over on the day.
  3. Adam Scott, 2012 Open Championship – Like McIlroy, he had a fat lead headed into Sunday, four strokes ad 11-under, and he was still four strokes ahead at the turn despite being 2-over. He birdied No. 14 to get to 10-under, four strokes ahead of Ernie Els, only to bogey 15, 16, and 17 in succession, falling to 7-under headed to 18 with Els in the clubhouse at 6-under. Hitting into a bunker, he eventually set himself up for an 8-foot par putt to force a playoff, but missed that as well.
  4. Phil Mickelson, 2006 US Open – And he still hasn’t won the darn thing. But Phil Mickelson had won a lot by the time the 2006 US Open rolled around – two Masters and a PGA  Championship to be exact, and had two runner-up jobs at the US Open to his credit. His 4-over headed to 18 on Sunday was hardly the best round in golf history, but it was good enough for a 1-shot lead on Geoff Oglivy, meaning a par would win the Major. But Mickelson proceeded to make one bone-headed decision after another, refusing to play conservative and winding up with a double bogey, later infamously calling himself “an idiot.”
  5. Dustin Johnson, 2015 US Open – Johnson had vanished, almost literally at the end of 2014, without a trace, costing himself a spot on the Ryder Cup team and stirring the rumor mill with everything from adultery to failed drug tests. He made an honest woman out of Paulina Gretzky – Wayne’s daughter – in the off-season, and came back playing great golf, winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March. Up two strokes headed to the back nine at the US Open, he squandered the lead with three bogeys in four holes, only to fight back to even when Spieth double-bogeyed No. 17. On No. 18, he needed to sink a 12-foot putt for eagle to win the tournament but missed it by three feet, then blew the short putt that would have forced a playoff, losing to Spieth outright.
  6. Greg Norman, 1996 Masters – Norman had won the Open Championship twice (1986, 1993), but otherwise had a whopping  six runner-up finishes at Majors.  He blew the doors off the course with a first-day 63, and led by six strokes (13-under) after 54 holes. That lead slipped to two strokes through nine holes on Sunday as Nick Faldo heated up, and when Norman double-bogeyed No. 12, it was all over. Not only did he lose, but he finished five strokes behind Faldo, an 11-stroke turnaround in the final 18 holes.
  7.  Arnold Palmer, 1966 US Open – Very odd for many to see Palmer, easily in the Top 5 greatest golfers of all-time, on the list. But in 1966, Palmer led the US Open by seven strokes with nine holes to go and came completely undone. He shot a 4-over 39 on the back nine while Billy Casper went 3-under to force a playoff. He looked to redeem himself in the 18-hole playoff, leading by 2 strokes through 11 holes, but he fell completely apart on the back nine again, a double-bogey on No. 16 the nail in the coffin.

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