The Best of 2012

Alex Jenkins turns his attention to the winners (and losers) over the past 12 months

Els took advantage of Scott’s late collapse to win the 2012 Open Championship

Comeback of the Year

Having failed to qualify for the Masters in April for the first time since 1993, Ernie Els, aged 42, bounced back to win his fourth Major at the Open Championship at Lytham in July, courtesy of some brilliant final-round play and Adam Scott’s dramatic late collapse.

The Big Easy started the final day six shots behind Scott and ended up winning by one – nearly 10 years to the day since he won his last major, the 2002 Open at Muirfield.

Scott’s fall from grace – despite not playing anything like as well as on the first three days, he still lead by four from Els with just four holes to play – was uncomfortable to watch, but on the flip side, seeing the towering South African playing – and significantly, putting – like he did in his glory days was as pleasing as it was surprising. While he missed a chance at the 17th, the popular Els holed a tricky 12-footer on the last for a must-make birdie, and by the time the unfortunate Scott tapped in at the 18th for his fourth consecutive bogey, the R&A-hired engraver was already etching the shortest name – E Els – on the Claret Jug for the second time.

"I feel for my buddy,” said Els of Scott. “I have been there, lost Majors, lost tournaments. I just hope he does not take it as hard as I did. I’m so happy to have won but I have been there at the other end more.”

Winner: Ernie Els (Open Championship)


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