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Wednesday, July 21, 1999 Published at 08:21 GMT 09:21 UK


Golf's all-time chokers

Jean Van de Velde: Stares defeat in the face


The BBC's Russell Fuller reports on 'the list nobody wants to join'
When Frenchman Jean Van de Velde blew the Open Championship with a triple-bogey on the last hole at Carnoustie, he joined the infamous list of golf's great "chokers".

Payne Stewart was four clear in the 1998 US Open when he shot a final round of 74 and lost by a single stroke to finish behind champion Lee Janzen.


[ image: Greg Norman: Lost a six stroke lead]
Greg Norman: Lost a six stroke lead
The 1996 US Masters, however, is noted for producing one of the most demoralising performances in golfing history.

Greg Norman - the "White Shark"- led by six strokes coming into the final round, but shot an appalling 78 to put partner Nick Faldo through for a five shot win and the green jacket.

In 1994, Jesper Parnevik came onto the final tee at the Open three shots ahead of his nearest rival Nick Price, but was reportedly unaware of the fact.

Rather than playing cautiously, he went for a birdie and duffed it for a bogey.

Price duly eagled the 17th and parred the last to win.


[ image: Jesper Parnevik choked at the 1994 Open]
Jesper Parnevik choked at the 1994 Open
In 1984, Taiwan's TC Chen was four clear at the beginning of the final day's play at the US Open and on course for a famous Asian victory.

Unfortunately, Chen took eight shots at the fifth and eventually lost by one to Andy North.

Even the legendary Tom Watson, who was five ahead at the 1978 US PGA, was powerless to stop a spectacular collapse in form.

He thought he had buried his "choker" status by winning the 1975 Open at Carnoustie.


Sports Psychologist Dr David Lewis: "However good you are, at some point you are likely to become overwhelmed"
But Watson carded a final round 73 to John Mahaffey's 66 and Jerry Pate's 68. The eventual play-off was won by Mahaffey.

And if there was an award for the all-time choker, then American Arnold Palmer would run Van de Velde very close.

At the 1966 US Open, Palmer was seven clear with nine to play. He was caught by Billy Casper and lost in an 18-hole play-off.



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