GOLF: Adam Scott's heartbreaking late meltdown at the 141st British Open represented one of those rare seminal moments in sport that remain etched in the memory forever.
His sudden implosion on Sunday, bogeying the last four holes to lose by one shot to South African Ernie Els, evoked memories of Jana Novotna's collapse in the 1993 Wimbledon tennis final when she surrendered a 4-1 lead to Steffi Graf in the deciding set.
It was also a reminder of the 'Lay Down Sally' incident at the 2004 Athens Olympics where Sally Robbins stopped rowing and laid back on a colleague in the eights final. Her Australian team were medal contenders but eventually finished last.
Scott's moment of sporting torture was most comparable, though, to the fate suffered by fellow Australian Greg Norman when he tossed away a six-stroke lead in the final round of the 1996 U.S. Masters to make a gift of the coveted Green Jacket to Britain's Nick Faldo.
Faldo, commentating on Sunday's action at Royal Lytham & St Annes for BBC television, said Scott was "going to be scarred for life" following his late blunders.
Scott, who turned 32 last Monday, said it was too early to tell how he would react in the future.
"Greg was my hero when I was a kid and I thought he was a great role model, how he handled himself in victory and defeat," Scott said.
"He set a good example for us. It's tough, I don't want to sit here and have to justify anything I've done out there.
"I didn't finish the tournament well but next time, and I'm sure there will be a next time, I can do a better job of it."
Scott, who has won eight times on both the U.S. and European tours, was chasing his first victory in a major championship.
"It may not have sunk in yet," he said. "Hopefully I can let it go really quick and get ready for my next tournament.
"I've never really been in this position before so I'll have to wait and see how I feel."
Scott started out on Sunday with a four-shot lead over the field and maintained that advantage well into the final round.
"I started paying attention around the turn, holes seven, eight, nine and 10, and I was obviously in a pretty good position but there was a long way to go," he said.
"I think I played kind of accordingly to that. I hit a lot of good shots, hit a lot of greens. I left a lot of putts short right in the middle but felt I didn't need to rush anything at the hole.
"I was just trying not to take any risks and keep hitting good shots, make pars, but that didn't quite work at the end."
Scott missed par-saving efforts from three feet at the 16th and eight feet at the last and said the hole that really cost him was the 17th.
"It all comes down to the shot into 17 for me that I'm most disappointed with," he explained.
"At that point I'm still well in control of the tournament and if I hit a nice shot somewhere to the right of the hole I can go to the last with the lead still."
Unfortunately for the likeable Scott, he hooked his approach into thick rough and failed to hole out from 25 feet.