Thursday, July 26, 2012


For those of us watching the thrilling finale of the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes on Sunday, the sight of Adam Scott sinking to his knees in agony on the eighteenth green after missing that par putt will be forever engraved in our minds.

The bogey rounded off a hardly believable final stretch of play that saw the Australian drop four shots in as many holes, allowing Ernie Els to secure his second Open title.

Nerves of steel, anyone? More like nerves of jelly reinforced with generous doses of artificially modified gelatin.

Of course, Scott said after it wasn't nerves that got the better of him but rather a loss of quality in ball striking. But then again, how can someone who's struck the ball the way he did for the last 68 holes suddenly capitulate so spectacularly?

With Els in the clubhouse and hot on his heels, it was a test of composure for Scott to finish strong - but unfortunately for him, he failed miserably. It's hard not to feel for him. Even Els admitted to feeling gutted for Scott.

Ernie Els. What can one say about the man? As others fell around him on a blustery final day, he showed his experience, sticking to the basics and playing high percentage golf throughout. The Big Easy was aggressive when he needed to be, going for the green in one on the par four seventeenth and attacking the flag on the final hole.

The 'P' word

Pressure is a strange creature. It makes us do different things, things we wouldn't usually do under normal circumstances.

In sport, it often comes down to who can handle that pressure better that determines a victor.
It was the Tiger Woods of old that showed the world how to play in pressure-cooker situations.  Others choke and die when it's crunch time. Few flourish and blossom to dizzying heights. How many times has Tiger staged a remarkable fightback on the final day, rallying from five or six shots off the pace to come from behind and win.

When it comes to sportsmen who thrive off pressure, another name that readily comes to mind is Usain Bolt. Theatrical antics aside, the speedster from Jamaica brings his A game to the big stage every time. Who's to say London 2012 won't be any different.

That is, of course, unless he doesn't bring a choke of Scottian proportions to the track.  

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