23 Jul 2012
Adam Scott reacts as his putt to force a play-off misses.
By Hamish Jones
Try as he might, this one won't easily be forgotten.
For Adam Scott, the first 63 holes of The Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes played out exactly as he would've liked - playing the best golf he has in his locker.
He started the final round with a four stroke lead over Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and American Brandt Snedeker. He finished his front nine leading by the same margin.
All things considered, smooth sailing. Then, as the enormity of the Claret Jug became apparent, the vehicle which had been motoring along so comfortably developed speed wobbles.
"It was a very sloppy finish by me, just talking about the golf. And disappointing to finish that way. 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 the last four holes," Scott said.
For the Queenslander, the biggest disappointment was his approach shot into the 17th green which found the greenside rough, leaving him a tough up and down for par.
"I hit a really nice tee shot off 17 right after missing a short one there on 16, and I just turned it over into the 17th. It wasn't a good shot. Like I said, that's the one that I look at and am most disappointed about at the moment," Scott said ruefully.
Unable to get out of the trouble safely on the 17th, Scott made bogey and fell level with Ernie Els. He needed par on the tough 18th to book his place in the play-off.
He'd hit irons earlier in the week off that tee but with the wind up, went with the 3 wood and found the fairway bunker on the left hand side.
"I thought about going with less club, but it was hard left to right, and I felt like if I just hit a 3 wood it would drift. But I just hit a real bullet and it held on its line. I'd hit 3 wood and some irons the other days, 2 irons. But I just held it too much on its line. Unfortunately that wasn't the shot I needed right there," he said.
He splashed out of the bunker and hit his approach to 8 feet. It was 8 feet between he and continuing his challenge for the Claret Jug.
"That putt didn't really do...it was never really on the line I was intending, not that I didn't feel like I hit a bad putt, but it just never really looked like it was going in, rolling up there. It was kind of always trying to hang on the left side," Scott said.
The putt slid past leaving Australian golf fans staring in disbelief and bringing back painful memories of near misses in Greg Norman's hey day.
"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," Scott said.
"It's tough; you don't want to sit here and have to...I can't justify anything that I've done out there. I didn't finish the tournament well today. But next time I'm sure there will be a next time, and I can do a better job of it."
A next time there may be but few will argue he'll have a better chance going into the back 9 of a Major championship.
"I know I've let a really great chance slip through my fingers today. But somehow I'll look back and take the positives from it. I don't think I've ever played this well in a major championship, so that's a good thing for me moving forward."
There was much to be positive about in what shaped as a career-defining week for Scott.
It will still be a career-defining week for reasons he may not like with the silver lining of the promise of what's to come.