Front-runners at majors often wilt like an unwatered lawn in Scottsdale in summertime. Here's a rundown of some of the more shocking collapses in recent major championship history.
Back when he was still the most talented player without a major title, Adam Scott bogeyed the final four holes at Royal Lytham to hand the Claret Jug to Ernie Els. Fortunately for Scott, he was able to shake off the demons at Augusta a few months later.
Jason Dufner, 2011 PGA Championship
Only in hindsight does Duf's collapse at the 2011 PGA — he bogeyed three of his final four holes to lose a five-shot lead, and then lost to Keegan Bradley in a playoff — become shocking, given how solidly Dufner has played since. Major collapses don't come much more painful than this one.
Tiger Woods, 2009 PGA Championship
Tiger Woods was once the Mariano Rivera of majors. Give him a 54-hole lead, and it was Enter Sandman — until Y.E. Yang came along. In retrospect, this was the first sign of trouble for Tiger, as his final-round 75 allowed Yang to snatch away the 2009 PGA. A little more than three months later, Woods was crashing into a fire hydrant, and the unraveling had truly begun.
Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie, 2006 U.S. Open
Two collapses for the price of one. Mickelson famously called himself an idiot after the most epic blunder of his star-crossed career — a triple bogey at the 72nd hole at Winged Foot that denied him his first U.S. Open title. But at least Lefty had a couple majors in his pocket with which to console himself. Montgomerie had a 7-iron in his hands in the fairway on 18 needing only a par to win his first major, but chose that moment to hit one of the worst shots of his life, ultimately making double-bogey to lose by 1.
Jean Van de Velde, 1999 British Open
This Frenchman didn't surrender, but he sure shot himself in the foot. As the 1999 Open Championship drew to a close, Van de Velde's name was already being etched into the Claret Jug. But that engraver didn't know who he was dealing with. Van de Velde needed only a double-bogey on the 72nd hole at Carnoustie to clinch the British Open, but 10 minutes of mayhem produced a triple-bogey 7, leaving him in a four-hole playoff that he would lose to Paul Lawrie. Van de Velde would never sniff another major.
Greg Norman, 1996 Masters
The grandaddy of them all. Norman held a six-shot lead over Nick Faldo entering the final round of the 1996 Masters, but a final-round 78 left him five shots behind Faldo, who shot 67. It was a day-long, slow-motion car crash, but we couldn't look away. This one's narrated in Japanese, which might help dull some of the pain. But the images remain.
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