Its going to be a long time before Phil “Van De Velde” Mickelson lives down his case of brain freeze on the 72 hole of the US Open. Today, one of the members of my foursome pulled out a driver on a hole where the driver was clearly an insane option and declared:
“I’m going Mickelson on this one.”
He overshot the landing zone, but didn’t clear the pond.
Mickelson’s meltdown is just one of many in the Majors.
For my money, the worst was Jean Van De Velde in 1999: Needing a double bogey to win, he tried to play out of a creek and ended up with a seven.
Then there’s Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters. He blows a six shot lead on the final day, shooting a 76 and allowing Nick Faldo to win by five.
At the final hole of the 1939 US Open, Sam Snead needed a par to win. Mistakenly thinking that he needed a birdie, however, Slammin’ Sam took a couple of risky shots and ended up with an eight. Snead, one of the three or four best players of all time, never won the US Open.
And finally, at the 1966 US Open, Arnold Palmer had a seven shot lead with nine to go. He took his eye off the ball (metaphorically speaking) and went for the Open scoring record instead of the vistory. He lost the lead—and the victory—to Billy Casper.
I’d like to hear some other nominations for worst meltdown of all time.