Scott joins big-name chokers
Adam Scott has left Lytham after joining Greg Norman and Rory McIlroy in an exclusive club - but not the one he had hoped for.
With just four holes to go in The Open the 32-year-old Australian was poised to emulate compatriot Norman by lifting the most prized Claret Jug in sport.
He was also set to add his name to a list of successive first-time winners in the majors that included McIlroy at the US Open last year.
But by blowing a four-stroke lead with four closing bogeys and losing by one to Ernie Els, who birdied the last, Scott finds himself labelled "a choker" - just like Norman was after the 1996 Masters and McIlroy was at Augusta 15 months ago.
It was the most spectacular meltdown in The Open since Jean Van de Velde stood on the final tee at Carnoustie in 1999 three clear, triple-bogeyed and lost a play-off to Paul Lawrie.
Van de Velde never did win a major, whereas McIlroy won the very next one he played in.
Scott has just a fortnight to wait before he tries again at the USPGA Championship - and next week he defends his title at the Bridgestone world championship.
"It may not have sunk in yet," he said last night before heading out of town.
"Hopefully I can let it go really quick and get on with what I plan to do.
"I don't know - I've never really been in this position, so I'll have to wait and see how I feel when I wake up.
"Greg was my hero when I was a kid and I thought he was a great role model, how he handled himself in victory and defeat.
"He set a good example for us. It's tough - I can't justify anything that I've done out there.
"I didn't finish the tournament well, but next time - I'm sure there will be a next time - I'm sure I can do a better job of it.
"It was a very sloppy finish by me and it's very, very disappointing. I played so well all week.
"I wasn't even really out of position and I managed to get myself in some trouble and couldn't make the putts to get out of it."
He failed to get up and down from sand on the 15th, three-putted the 16th (his par putt was only three feet) and then strayed into thick rough by pulling his approach to the 17th.
"That's the shot I'm most disappointed with. At that point I'm still well in control of the tournament," he said.
It came after the roar to great Els's 15-foot birdie putt up ahead. When Scott chipped too strongly and bogeyed again they were
level and when he missed an eight-footer on the last after driving into another bunker he had lost.
Scott was spoken to by Els after signing his card.
"He said he felt for me and not to beat myself up. He said he beat himself up a little bit when he'd had a chance to win and lost," said the Australian.
"And he felt I'm a great player and I can go on to win majors, which is nice."