Golf

Sport's greatest chokes

Published 1400 GMT (2200 HKT) October 30, 2012
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Adam Scott looked set for a first major win at this year's British Open, but four bogeys on the last four holes of the final round let South Africa's Ernie Els swoop in and steal the Australian's crown. Scott missed a putt on the 18th green that would've forced a playoff. Getty Images
I.K. Kim has also endured major heartbreak in 2012. The 24-year-old missed a one-foot putt on the final hole of the Kraft Nabisco Championship that would've earned her first major, and then lost a playoff to fellow South Korean Yoo Sun-Young. But Scott and Kim aren't the only golfers to have choked on the big stage... Getty Images
Rory McIlroy may now be the world's top-ranked golfer, but there was a time when he was looking for a first major win. Surely it would come at the 2011 Masters? The Northern Irishman had torn up the famous Augusta course, entering the final day with a four-stroke lead. McIlroy shot the worst round ever recorded by someone leading after three rounds of the Masters. He watched on heartbroken as Charl Schwartzel took the title, but bounced back with a record-breaking U.S. Open win to clinch his first major. Getty Images
If McIlroy is still haunted by his Augusta nightmare, then one can only imagine the demons which must dwell in the mind of Jean van de Velde. The Frenchman was on course to become a shock winner of the 1999 British Open, requiring just a double bogey on the 18th hole to claim the Claret Jug. What followed has made Van de Velde one sport's most infamous chokers, with a series of wayward shots leaving him in the water. Van de Velde found a greenside bunker with his fifth shot before he eventually holed his seventh for a triple bogey, forcing a playoff. Scotland's Paul Lawrie emerged from the three-way decider as the champion. Getty Images
Great chokes are not confined to the golf course. There wasn't a dry eye on Centre Court as Czech tennis star Jana Novotna sobbed uncontrollably on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent after losing the 1993 Wimbledon women's singles final to Steffi Graf. Novotna led 6-7 6-1 4-1 before collapsing and allowing Graf to take the title. Novotna did eventually win a grand slam, beating Venus Williams in the 1998 Wimbledon final. Getty Images
Brazil hosted the football World Cup for the first time in 1950, with an expectant home crowd demanding the team claim the title. Everything looked to be going to plan, with a freescoring Brazil team needing just a draw against Uruguay to seal a first World Cup triumph. Despite taking the lead, Brazil ended up losing 2-1 lead -- and a country was devastated. Since then "A Selecao" have won the World Cup five times, more than any other nation. Getty Images
But even Brazil's collapse cannot match AC Milan's "achievement" in the 2005 European Champions League final against Liverpool. Carlo Ancelotti's Milan blew their English opponents out of the water in the first half, racing into a 3-0 lead. But, in six incredible second-half minutes, Rafeal Benitez's Liverpool launched one of the greatest comebacks in the history of sport, scoring three times to level the match. Liverpool held on grimly to force a penalty shootout, with Jerzy Dudek's save from Andriy Shevchenko handing Liverpool a most unlikely success. Getty Images
U.S. sport is not immune to chokes. Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood has the unfortunate honor of being arguably America's most famous choker. At Super Bowl XXV against the New York Giants, Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal that would've won the Vince Lombardi trophy for the Bills. It marked the first of four consecutive Super Bowl defeats for Buffalo and a the start of a rapid descent out of the NFL for Norwood. Getty Images