Home > Golf > The future is up to Adam, but history says it’s bleak

The future is up to Adam, but history says it’s bleak

By Paul Johnson

Sometimes there just isn’t anything fair about sport. You can be the better man or team for the majority of a battle, but if you aren’t on top at the end it’s all for nothing, and if you blow it, say throw away a major victory, well you’re a choker.

Choking is ugly and to borrow a phrase from ‘legendary’ WWE commentator Jim Ross, Adam Scott’s choke at Royal Lytham was “bowling shoe ugly.”

Striking the balls sweetly for 68 holes just wasn’t enough to get the job done. That easy swing, so technically correct, faltered down the stretch and, as a by-product, so did the part of Scott’s game that has dogged him throughout his career and stopped him from going to that next level and becoming a major champion – his putting.

Short stick, broomstick it doesn’t matter, when it comes down to making those clutch putts, it’s about belief, it’s mental. It was a big part of why Tiger Woods dominated world golf for so long, he made the clutch putts – he was confident, he knew where to hit it, just watch this for a reference when he takes the 2008 US Open to a playoff

That was confidence and it’s a confidence Scott, despite professing his love for the broomstick, does not possess. Truth be told at times during his career his game on the green has been hard to watch, never more so than in the wee hours of the morning (AET) on July 23, 2012.

Sadly though it’s the second time in two years that Scott has been on the brink of a major triumph only to see it slip from his grasp.

Charl Schwartzel beat him in the 2011 Masters by going on a birdie blitz, this time Adam Scott beat himself. The bogeys were careless, the putt he missed on 16 is one most decent single handicappers would make and he was coming unravelled, the tee shot on 18 – why go for it with the bunker in play?

Yep Scott lost the British Open and he lost it to a man who, in his declining years on the tour, has become famous for not having the mettle when it matters.

Ernie Els said he felt for Scott and that he believes he could still win more majors than he has (4), as long as he didn’t let it get to him, but he would hardly be the first golfer to let a major choke ruin him – Jean van de Velde at Carnoustie comes to mind, a three shot lead on the last hole and he hit it into the Barry Burn, he was never the same and Scott’s choke in terms of The Open is only second to that.

Ironically the comparisons have already started to his hero, Greg Norman, who choked so hard at Augusta in 1996, to lose to Nick Faldo that he is still the butt of choking jokes, Norman much older than Scott is now, by then never got over it.

But if Scott is actually similar to anyone it’s probably not Norman, but rather Sergio Garcia, the Spaniard like Scott was a prodigy as a youngster and suffered cruel defeats in majors for two years straight, losing the 2007 Open and 2008 PGA Championship to Padraig Harrington. His problem the same as Scott’s, an inability to make the pressure putts, and Garcia has been lost ever since.

Right now Scott has two options –  go the Garcia route and let it get to him, or rise above. But first he needs to get the demons out of his head and stop the words of the commentator from ringing in his ears, which for the record were “this will haunt him forever.”

Time will tell us whether that is true but history, despite Scott’s defiance in saying, “next time … I’m sure there will be a next time, and I can do a better job of it,” is not in the Queenslander’s favour.

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