There is something truly special about an athlete who can rise above the field to claim victory. However, not every day goes according to plan and sometimes you may end up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Even some of the greatest golfers in history have had their moments when victory looked inevitable, yet they choked. A meltdown on the back 9 can really hurt, but more so when it ends up costing you the championship. Here are 2 of the most epic meltdowns in pro golf history.
Arnold Palmer isn’t just a great golfer; the man is an American institution. Boasting 62 PGA tour wins, The King remains one of the most respected and revered figures in golf, worldwide. However, even a legend like Arnold Palmer can have a disastrous day and it happened towards the end of the 1966 US Open. The Lake Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco was playing host to the 66th US Open and Arnold Palmer was one of many past US Open champions to have made the cut. The younger and still getting better by every day Jack Nicklaus was the favourite, but it was Palmer who head into Sunday with a seven shot lead over the rest of the field. However, on the back 9 is when everything unravelled. Billy Casper played a tight game while Palmer seemed to be all over the place. Eventually, Casper tied to force a playoff and once again, Palmer lost it in the final 9 holes to hand Billy Casper the US Open. It was Casper’s second US Open win; his first was in 1959.
Every successful and popular athlete has his or her iconic moment. Sadly for Greg Norman, neither one of his two major wins feature as his most iconic moment; that honour goes to the Australian’s collapse at the 1996 Masters. Norman went into the final round of the 60th Masters with a six shot lead over Englishman Nick Faldo. What would follow is considered by many to be the greatest meltdown in the history of golf. After bogeying holes 9, 10 and 11, Norman found the water at the 12th hole and ended up double bogeying. Another double bogey at 16 killed off his chances of a win. Although Faldo had played out of his skin to bring down the gap, he definitely received help from Greg Norman’s 78; instead of trailing by 6, Faldo won the Masters with a 5 stroke lead. Ken Venturi had a final round of 80 to lose the 1956 Masters by a single shot. However, Greg Norman’s collapse was considered to be even worse. Losing by a stroke at the 1986 and 1987 Masters, everyone thought that 1996 had to be the year of the Great White Shark. However, golf fans around the world gasped as Norman let the lead slip away. If only that eagle chip on the 15th had gone in.
In recent years, we have been witness to some spectacular meltdowns, including Adam Scott at the final four holes of the 2012 Open Championship. However, for pure shock value, these two epic meltdowns have to be the greatest in golf history.
Today’s guest post is submitted by Dave Hal, a popular blogger and a sports enthusiast. He enjoys playing golf in his spare time and spends majority of his time in the Golf Headquarters near his house planning his next move.