Ernie Els kept feeling that something special could happen at the British Open, and it did. But only after a collapse by Adam Scott that no one imagined. Four shots ahead with four holes to play—after eight straight holes with nothing worse than par—Scott bogeyed them all and had to fight back tears on the 18th green today as the magnitude of his meltdown began to sink in.
Els, who started the final round six shots behind, finished off a flawless back nine with a 15-foot birdie putt for a 2-under 68 that looked as if it would do little more than lock up another runner-up finish at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Instead, he wound up with his second British Open—the other one was 10 years ago at Muirfield—and fourth major championship. "I'm a little numb at the moment," said Els. "First of all, I feel for Adam Scott. Obviously, we both wanted to win very badly. But you know, that's the nature of the beast. It was my time for some reason."