LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England - Adam Scott, meet Jean Van de Velde.
And Ed Sneed.
And Phil Mickelson.
Adam Scott reacts after missing a putt on the 18th green.
With a stunning meltdown, Scott gave away the claret jug Sunday and joined an infamous list of the greatest collapses in golf history. The Aussie bogeyed the final four holes of the British Open to finish one stroke behind Ernie Els, who was almost apologetic about the way he won.
"I'm still numb," Els said. "Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy. It's a crazy game."
Scott missed a 7-footer at the final hole that would have forced a playoff, his knees buckling as the ball slid by the left edge of the cup. Then, after somehow composing himself and signing his scorecard, he had to return to the same green where his hopes were crushed to accept the runner-up prize.
"I know I let a really great chance slip through my fingers," Scott said.
Indeed, this was a blow to gut that will certainly take a while to get over, and it's unlikely Scott will ever be able to put it totally out of his mind. He played brilliantly for three straight days, building a four-shot advantage heading to the final round, and he was still up by four after what seemed a clinching birdie at the 14th.
Then he knocked one in a bunker on 15. Bogey. Then he missed a 3-footer at the next hole. Another bogey. Then he hit his worst shot of the whole tournament, an iron from the middle of the fairway that missed left and rolled into some tall grass, leading to a third straight bogey. Up ahead, Els was already done, having birdied the 18th with a clutch 15-footer. As Scott stepped to the final tee, his lead was gone.
Not surprisingly, he drove it in a bunker, leaving himself no other option except to punch out into the fairway. A brilliant shot from 150 yards gave him a chance, but the tall putter that served him so well all week petered out at the end.
Els celebrated on the practice green but wasn't real sure how to react.
"I've got to figure it out still," he said. "Obviously, I'm happy to have won. But I've been on the other end more than the winning end. It's not a good feeling."
There's plenty of guys who know how that feels:
Three shots ahead. Three holes to play. But, suddenly, his game fell apart. Or, more specifically his putter. Sneed bogeyed the last three holes and lost to Fuzzy Zoeller in a sudden-death playoff. Sneed never came so close again to capturing a major title.
And, now, Scott joins the list.