Scott rivals Norman for unwanted tag

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 07:41 03/04/2014
Adam Scott
Getty Images
CHOKER? Australian golfer Adam Scott has once again failed to close out a tournament after going into the final round with a sizable lead.

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OPINION: The term "choke" has a tendency to follow teams and certain individuals around like an unwanted black shadow.

Whether it's the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup (until 2011), England at the FIFA World Cup or South Africa at the Cricket World Cup, it's teams that are associated with the choker tag more so than individual sportspeople.

Except when it comes to golf.

One of the more memorable ones that comes to mind for me is Frenchman Jean van de Velde at the British Open in 1999.

All he needed was a double bogey at the 18th to win at Carnoustie, but in what golf.com described as an "Inspector Clouseau moment", he ended up with a triple and promptly lost a playoff to Paul Lawrie.

At the recent Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida, Australian Adam Scott continued a disturbing trend by failing to stitch up a tournament despite a sizeable lead.

Scott led by three going into the final round, but ended up finishing third after a four-over 76, two behind winner Matt Every. Scott led by eight at one point, after 35 holes.

It's the second time Scott's lost a tournament after being in a very strong position and in my opinion, he should be a bit worried given it was his last tournament before he defends his US Masters title.

You may remember Scott led by four strokes going into the final round at the Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Anne's in 2012.

He led by the same margin with four to play but blew it in sensational fashion, eventually losing by a stroke to Ernie Els. Something like this happening once may be forgiven, but for it to happen twice in similar fashion means there's an issue.

Scott looks to be slowly but surely taking over the mantle of golf's biggest choker from fellow Australian Greg Norman.

Norman's famous capitulation at the 1996 Masters, leading by six going into the final round then shooting 78 to lose to Nick Faldo, is legendary.

Whatever seems to be haunting Scott when it comes to closing out tournaments needs to be fixed pretty quick.

Whether or not there is a quick fix I don't know, but he probably shouldn't turn to van de Velde or Norman for advice.

Golf is an incredibly frustrating game and at times you can feel really alone when you're not playing well. Scott should focus on his successes rather than his failures to help get him through. He's won a major and is No 2 in the world rankings.

That says enough about his talents to suggest he'll get over his apparent case of the yips heading into those last 18 holes.

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WAITAKI HERALD

- South Canterbury

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