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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

That's a peach, hun

Jeanvandevelde_3 One of the advantages of checking out this blog is that occasionally you might get a sneak preview of what's going to be in the next day's paper. You can impress friends and influence business partners with your alleged psychic abilities. Anyway, on Friday's Page 2 of the Times sports section, I'm going to be talking about some of the more memorable collapses in sports history. This, of course, inspired by the Devil Rays face-plant in the ninth inning Tuesday night in Toronto.

All the usual suspects have been rounded up:

The Bucs choke against the Colts on Monday Night Football. The Yankees blowing a 3-0 lead in the 2004 ALCS. Greg Norman turning into Goofy at the 1996 Masters. There's a bunch more.

But I started thinking. What is the worst collapse ever? The absolute worst? Many -- like the Bucs on Monday Night or the Yankees in 2004 -- were partly a result of their own ineptitude. But often the other team mounts a great rally. Certainly the Colts did against the Bucs. And so did the Red Sox against the Yankees.

So if you're just factoring a player or a team blowing it all by themselves, Norman's blow-up at the Masters is in the running. But my all-time pick is Jean Van de Velde at the 1999 British Open. Standing on the 18th hole on Sunday, all he needed to do was double bogey a par-4. Double bogey. A six. He made seven and lost in a playoff.

In his classic column about Van de Velde's collapse, Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated wrote:

You telling me you can't make a six on a par 4? A double bogey? You could make double bogey in flippers and a snorkel. You could hit a five-iron, an oar and a rigatoni noodle and make a double bogey. A well-trained chicken could make a freaking double bogey.

But Van de Velde couldn't, which is why I think it's the greatest collapse ever. What do you think? Is this the greatest collapse ever?  (Photo: Associated Press.)

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:40pm]


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