Lytham: Adam Scott will be burdened with the unwanted tag as a choker after his spectacular meltdown at the British Open echoed that of fellow Australian Greg Norman at the 1996 US Masters, his country’s media said on Monday.
South African Ernie Els snatched the Claret Jug by one stroke from overnight leader Scott after the Australian suffered an extraordinary collapse to squander a four-shot lead over the final four holes at a blustery Lytham on Sunday.
“Good guy Scott will have to wear the choker tag,” read the headline of a Sydney Morning Herald analysis on Monday.
“As a teenager, Scott wept when Norman fell apart at the 1996 Masters and handed the title to that ultimate Sunday afternoon pugilist Nick Faldo,” the column said.
“In making four bogeys in his last four holes to relinquish a seemingly unassailable lead to Ernie Els, Scott’s self-harm was no less agonising.”
Norman, known as “The Shark”, gave up a six-shot overnight lead in the final round at Augusta, allowing an inspired Faldo to storm past and record a five-stroke victory when the Briton carded a five-under 67.
“Scott’s collapse mirrors Norman’s,” a Fox Sports report claimed. “Adam Scott grew up wanting to emulate Greg Norman. But not like this.”
Scott, who was bidding to win his first major, was positive after his defeat and said he would only learn from his mistakes, although several observers in his homeland were not absolutely sure he would.
“As Scott admitted, perhaps his strangely positive manner was the consequence of shock,” the Sydney Morning Herald continued.
“So violently had the Claret Jug been ripped from his grasp — or, perhaps more accurately, so unexpectedly had he relinquished it — that it might take days, even weeks, for the full magnitude of this sporting disaster to seep into his psyche.
“Now, we wait, with nervous curiosity to see what toll such a bitter defeat will take on Scott.
“Will it play on his mind the next time he gets into a winning position? Will it motivate him to work even harder to get the chance to make amends?”