Ten biggest bottlers in sport after Spieth hands US Masters title to Willett
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | April 11, 2016
Englishman Danny Willett capitalised on one of one golfing’s biggest capitulations you’ll ever see, to claim the US Masters as defending champion Jordan Spieth let slip a five-shot lead with just the back nine of the tournament to go.
So, in light of the American effectively handing the 28-year-old Yorkshireman his first ever Major title, Coral have come up with 10 of the biggest bottlers in sport…
Rory McIlroy – 2011 Masters
Keeping with the golfing theme, McIlroy may now be a four-time Major winner, but back in 2011 he surrendered a four-shot lead ahead of the fourth and final round at Augusta to allow Charl Schwartzel to claim the crown.
The Northern Irishman shot rounds of 65, 69, 70 and then a catastrophic 80 to eventually finish tied-15th, in similar vein to Greg Norman’s capitulation at the same event in 1996.
Thankfully for the McIlroy, he was able to put the shattering loss behind him and he picked up the US Open title just two months later.
Jean van de Velde – 1999 Open Championship
Frenchman Van de Velde managed to hold his nerve right up until the final hole of the Open Championship at the Carnoustie Golf Links course in Angus, Scotland, and needed anything better than a double bogey to win.
However, in perhaps the most spectacular 18th hole meltdowns in the history of golf, he completely lost his head and went for outrageous shots rather than playing it safe, allowing home hope Paul Lawrie to level the scores and eventually take the title after a play-off.
It was a mixture between a comedy and tragedy, as Van de Velde found himself in a water hazard and deep rough after hitting the grandstand railings, and Arnaud Massy (1907 Open) remains the sole Frenchman to this day to have won a Major.
England (Ben Stokes) – 2016 World Twenty20 final
Most recently, England national cricket team were the heavy favourites to become the first nation to win the T20 tournament twice, as their excellent bowling meant that the West Indies needed a whopping 19 from the final over.
Even after Carlos Brathwaite smashed the first six against Stokes, England were still in a good position, but three further maximums in a row by the big Barbadian meant a remarkable victory for the Caribbean competitors.
Liverpool – 2013/14 Premier League
Moving on to football, Liverpool (16/1 top four shouts this term) under Brendan Rodgers came agonizingly close to winning a maiden Premier League and first league title since 1989/90, as they led the way with three games to go.
However, a incredible draw with Crystal Palace and 2-0 loss to Chelsea, with captain Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip, allowed Manchester City to leapfrog them to regain the trophy.
AC Milan – 2005 Champions League final
Liverpool though profited on another team’s capitulation nine years before, though, in what was one of the most thrilling finals in history in any sport.
After trailing Italian giants AC Milan 3-0 at half-time, no one had expected the Reds, who had already battled way above their weight to reach this stage, to then go on to win.
But Gerrard began the fightback, before Liverpool took the Serie A side into extra-time and then penalties, where Jerzy Dudek became the hero perhaps thanks to his Bruce Grobbelaar-esque antics.
Arsenal – 2010/11 season
There have been too many to pick from in the last 10 or so years for Arsenal, but we have settled with their campaign in 2010/11.
The Gunners were challenging for all four trophies at one stage, and were near chasers of Manchester United in the Premier League, but a run of just two wins in their final 11 games meant they slipped down to fourth.
Elsewhere, they lost to Barcelona in the Champions League again, while inexplicably allowed lowly Birmingham City, who were relegated that season, to claim the League Cup with a 2-1 victory.
Newcastle United – 1995/96 Premier League
At least Arsenal have never lost the league after being 12 points ahead, like Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle did 20 years ago, though.
The Magpies (13/2 to stay up this season) led by that margin in January, and were overtaken in March after Keegan’s famous “I would love it” rant and five straight losses before eventually coming second.
Jana Novotna – 1993 Wimbledon final
In the first year that the Czech Republic was formed after Czechoslovakia was dissolved, female tennis player Novotna nearly gave the nation something to cheer about that summer when she became just one point and a game away from lifting the Wimbledon, and her first Grand Slam, title.
Going up against the great Steffi Graf, Novotna went 6-7 6-1 4-1 up and game-point at 40-30, before eventually losing each of the last five games to allow the German to win her 12th major trophy and third at SW19. She eventually finished her career with 22 and six respectively.
Thankfully for Novotna, though, she did taste Wimbledon glory in 1998, as well as multiple doubles titles.
Team New Zealand – 2013 America’s Cup
Moving to the world of sailing, in an event that happens roughly every three or four years, the last edition saw a remarkable fightback from Golden Gate Yacht Club to win 9-8 after being 8-1 down.
The decision to make British nautical legend Sir Ben Ainslie the team’s tactician after the sixth race proved perhaps the best decision in any sport ever, as the San Francisco-based outfit claimed the oldest international sporting trophy.
Jimmy White – 1992 World Championship final
With 10 ranking event titles and earning over £4.5m in career winnings, The Whirlwind was one of snooker’s greatest and more stylish players ever, but unfortunately for him never lifted the holy grail World Championship trophy.
Left-hander White managed to reach an impressive six final, with five being in succession from 1990-1994, but he fell short each time to fellow legends Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry (on four occasions) and John Parrott.
The most crushing of defeats for White, though, was in 1992 when he led Hendry 14-8 before losing 10 frames in succession to go down 18-14.