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The 5 Biggest Sporting Chokes Of All Time

The 5 Biggest Sporting Chokes Of All Time
By Emmet O'Keeffe
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In the wake of Sergio Garcia's Tin Cup moment on the 17th at the Player's Championship last night, we bring you the five biggest sporting chokes of all time.

1. Jean van de Velde

Jean van de Velde arrived at the 18th tee on Sunday at Carnoustie needing only a double bogey six to become the first Frenchman since 1907 to win the British Open.

After flirting with the Barry Burn water feature off the tee, van de Velde chose to go for the green with his second shot instead of laying up. This decision would come back to haunt the Frenchman as second shot went way right. landing into the deep rough.

Van de Velde's third shot from the deep rough found the water leading to the iconic image of the Frenchman standing hands on hips, shin deep in the Burn, as he debated whether to try to hit his ball out of the water.

Van de Velde eventually decided to take a drop and then proceeded to hit his fifth shot into the greenside bunker. Van de Velde chipped out to within six feet and made the putt for a triple bogey seven, dropping him into a playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie. Lawrie would eventually triumph in the playoff but the 1999 British Open will always be remembered for Jean van de Velde.


2. Greg Norman

Although widely regarded as one the finest golfers of his generation, Norman 'only' won two majors despite being putting himself in a position to win many more. In the opening round of the 1996 Masters Norman shot a course-record 63 and lead by six shots going into the final round.


'The Shark' then managed to go round the same 18 holes at Augusta National in 15 strokes more, carding a six over 78, to leave him five strokes behind the eventual winner Nick Faldo.

3. Kevin Keegan's Newcastle


Kevin Keegan's swashbuckling Newcastle side lead the Premier League by twelve points from Manchester United before visiting West Ham on the 21st of February in 1996. A two nil defeat cut the gap to nine points and they lead by only four points by the time they faced United on March 4th in St James' Park.


Despite dominating the game, a heroic performance from Peter Schmeichel and an Eric Cantona goal gave United a 1 nil win. Newcastle's lead had been overhauled but they were very much still in the title race going into their April clash with Liverpool. In one of the classic games in Premier League history, Newcastle lead 3-2 with 22 minutes left but were left devastated as Liverpool equalised before Stan Collymore scored the winner in the 90th minute.

There were was still more drama to come as Keegan gave his famous emotional post match interview as he memorably took Alex Ferguson's bait.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yenzdq5g6o]


United won the league on the final day of the season with Keegan and Newcastle left regretting the ill fated £6.7 million pound signing of 'Tino' Asprilla.

4. Todd Martin

American Todd Martin was the only seeded player left in the last four of the 1996 Wimbeldon Championships and looked certain of a place in a final as he lead 5-1 in the fifth set against fellow American MaliVai Washington. Martin served for the match twice but self destructed with the finishing line in sight.


Serving at 5-1, he double faulted twice to gift Washington the game. Serving for the match again at 5-3 and 30 all, Martin double faulted to give Washington break point. Washington took his chance and eventually went on to win the set 10-8. Martin admitted after the match that he had froze under the pressure.

Washington went on to lose the final to Richard Krajicek in straight sets.

5. Jimmy White


Jimmy White reached six World Championship Snooker finals but lost every single one with his two most heartbreaking defeats coming against Stephen Hendry. In 1992, "The Whirlwind" lead Hendry 14-8 before contriving to lose the next ten frames with Hendry taking the match 18-14.

Two years later White again had victory at the Crucible within his grasp. At 17 all in the deciding frame, White had a routine black on its spot to put him on the brink of his first World Championship win. White missed the black by a wide margin and Dennis Taylor memorably observed on commentary, "Dear me, that was just a little bit of tension".

Hendry gratefully accepted White's gift and cleared up with a break of 58 to pip the 'People's Champion' at the post.

(H/T Telegraph)

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