Meltdown: Top Six Major Chokes in Golf History (Video)

Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports /
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AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 10: Jordan Spieth of the United States and caddie Michael Greller react after finishing on the 18th green during the final round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2016 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Jordan Spieth lost the Masters by hitting two balls into the water on the 12th hole, but he’s hardly the first player to suffer a meltdown at a major.

Meltdown: a sudden, catastrophic collapse of the system. The meltdown in athletic competition leaves a memorable disaster. Here are golf’s top six meltdowns.

At their core, sports are about winning. Winners amass more money and prestige, and countless championship teams have been invited to the White House in recognition of their achievements. Vince Lombardi famously summed it up this way: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

It’s not often that a great victory is eclipsed by a tale of defeat, but that’s exactly what happened at the 2016 Masters Tournament. Thanks to a shocking turn of events on the 12th hole, world No. 2 Jordan Spieth will forever be associated with one of golf’s most memorable chokes.

Thanks to a 66 in the opening round, Spieth had a chance to win the tournament wire-to-wire as he made the turn on Sunday. However, he’d been struggling with his swing all week, and what might have been a 10 or 11-stroke advantage was just five. Two bogeys to start the back nine didn’t help matters, and by the time he walked up to the tee on the par-3 12th, his lead had diminished to three shots.

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  • The wind, swirling erratically through the air, made for treacherous conditions on Sunday, and Spieth could only watch in horror as his tee shot on 12 sailed into Rae’s Creek. It was unfortunate, but not disastrous — scores of golfers over the years have found the drink on 12. His next shot also found the water, however, and the ball that finally cleared it went sailing into a bunker. When all was said and done, Spieth had made an ugly quadruple-bogey on the hole, moving from the driver’s seat to the chasing pack.

    Spieth never recovered from his 12th hole debacle. He made two birdies in the next three holes but cooled off down the stretch. Meanwhile, Englishman Danny Willett maintained laser focus on the back nine, going bogey-free and circling three birdies to post a clubhouse number of five-under-par and hold on for the win, his first major title.

    It was impressive, but Willet’s win still feels a bit hollow, overshadowed by Spieth’s collapse. In light of the events of last week, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable major meltdowns in the history of the sport.

    Next: A Young Phenom's Masters Collapse