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The Biggest Collapses in Sports History

Posted by amustard on April 11, 2016

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Yesterday at the Masters – the most important professional golf tournament (and most watched) of the year – Execulink TV customers witnessed one of the craziest collapses in this prestigious event’s history.

Jordan Spieth, a 22 year old golf phenom and winner of the 2015 Masters, was well on his way to receiving the Green Jacket (the prize awarded to the Masters champion) two years in a row – joining an elite club that includes golf legends Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.

As Spieth tee’d up his ball on the 10th hole, he was seven-under par with a comfortable 5 shot lead over Englishman Danny Willet. He missed an easy put on the 10th, costing him a shot, and his drive off the 11th tee block ended up in the trees. Suddenly, his lead was down to only 1 shot with seven holes to go.

Which brings us to the famous 12th hole, nicknamed the Amen Corner, at Augusta National – a hole that has ‘broken more men than marriage and moonshine’, a common joke amongst local golfers. It has been said that no one is a champion until he has made it around Amen Corner, a lesson Spieth learned after sinking not one, but two balls in the water – giving him a quadruple bogey and the loss of his once massive lead.

 

Although he made a solid attempt, Spieth was never able to rebound from this breakdown, and ended up losing to Willet, who was hot on his heels. It is a tradition at the Masters that the previous winner must award the aforementioned Green Jacket to the new winner. As Spieth won in 2015, he had the awkward task of awarding the prize he had all but wrapped up an hour earlier, to someone else. Unfortunately, the 2016 Masters will not be remembered as the year that Danny Willet won, but rather the year Jason Spieth lost.

With that mind, we thought we would take this opportunity to go over some of the most memorable collapses in Sports history.
 

2004 New York Yankees

In 2004, the New York Yankees were up three games to none, in a best of seven American League Championship series against the Boston Red Sox. The Yanks only needed one more win to advance to the World Series. No team has ever blown a 3-0 series lead in MLB history, and considering the Red Sox were still under the Curse of the Bambino, things were looking good for New York.

In Game 4, the Yankees were up by one run in the bottom of the ninth with only 3 outs to advance to the World Series. They blew the lead, the Sox won the next three games and swept the Cardinals in the World Series to end an 86-year championship drought.

Ronda Rousey

2015 was quite the year for UFC fighter Ronda Rousey. She became a house-hold name after several high-profile UFC wins and started edging into celebrity status with Late Night Talk Show appearances, hosting Saturday Night Live and movie offers.

At the height of her popularity, she was scheduled to fight Holly Holm – a fight that was supposed to be a breeze for Rousey. Ronda herself predicted a victory and the confidence she displayed made few doubt her predictions.

Soon into the fight, it was clear that Rousey had underestimated Holm, and lost by knock-out after a fierce Holm kick to the head. Although Rousey remains in the public eye, her dominance in fighting is questioned.

 

2003 Chicago Cubs – The “Bartman" Incident

Similar to the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs are a baseball team synonymous with the inability to recapture the magic they once had.  In 2003, the Cubs were up 3-1 on the Florida Marlins in the NLCS, trying to make it to the World Series for the first time in over 50 years.  In the 8th inning of game 5, they were 4 outs away from making this happen.

After a foul ball was hit in the outfield, it appeared Cubs outfielder Moses Alou was in position to make the catch and end the inning. Steve Bartman, a Cubs fan’, reached out and caught the ball, disrupting the potential catch by Alou and denying the Cubs the out. The Marlins ended up scoring 8 runs that inning, winning the game,and creating a turning point in the series, which the Cubs ended up losing.

 

2004 Los Angeles Lakers

We have already gone over Shaq and Kobe’s 2004 NBA finals breakdown in our #Execublog showcase of the biggest upsets in sports history, but similar to Spieth’s weekend. The Detroit Pistons didn’t win the finals as much as the Lakers lost.

After a season known for its off-court shenanigans – the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers were able to make it to the finals with skillful players such as O’Neal, Bryant, Karl Malone and Gary Payton. They faced the Detroit Pistons who did not have a single player as good as any of the Lakers’ starts. Despite the difference in talent, the Pistons defeated the Lakers in an embarrassing 4 games to 1, putting a dent in the Lakers dynasty.

 

2013 Toronto Maple Leafs

This one is hard for me to talk about. As a long-time Toronto Maple Leafs fan, I was ecstatic to see the boys in blue up by a comfortable 3 goals in the third period of game seven against the Boston Bruins – 15 minutes away to advancing to the division finals. With the Leafs’ post-season performance in the past decade (or lack ther of), it’s safe to say Leaf Nation was ready to celebrate.

Cue the collapse. The Bruins scored three goals in what I consider the longest 15 minutes of my life. Boston won in overtime, competing the comeback and breaking the hearts of loyal Leafs fans everywhere. I cannot put in words how devastating this felt – I have friends who have not watched a Leaf game since. I have been haunted ever since, and will never trust a 3 goal lead ever again.


Remember – don’t count your chickens before they hatch, it ain’t over until the … well you know what I am trying to say. The 12th hole at Augusta will haunt Jason Spieth for a while – but luckily he is young. At 22, he will still have 70 opportunities to win another Major tournament before he turns 40. 


References 
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/apr/11/jordan-spieth-loses-masters-amen-corner
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1363917-the-most-epic-collapses-in-sports-history

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Andrew Mustard, Marketing Coordinator


Devoted Leafs fan through the good and the bad - mostly bad. Born and raised in Stratford, Ontario - with more swag than Bieber. Success isn’t a maybe - it’s a must.