Top Tens

Top ten chokes

Jimmy White lost six Crucible finals.

Top ten chokes

Greg Norman fell apart at Augusta as Faldo claimed green jacket.

Top ten chokes

Rory McIlroy had a day to forget as his four-shot lead crumbled away.

Top ten chokes

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After Rory McIlroy's meltdown, looks at ten of the biggest sporting chokes.

Greg Norman, The Masters, 1996

Rory McIlroy is not the only man to suffer a Masters meltdown at Augusta, with the Great White Shark being sunk by his crumbling nerves at the 1996 event as he allowed a six shot lead to disintegrate in the Georgia sunshine. Norman had dominated after a course record 63 in the opening round, but he dumped two balls into the water at Amen Corner during his final round of 78 to finish five shots behind Nick Faldo who walked off with the green jacket.

Newcastle, Premier League, 1995/96

Kevin Keegan's entertaining Newcastle side were flying during the season, and built up what looked an unassailable 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League at Christmas. But Keegan let his emotions get the better of him as Manchester United began to close in, and his infamous "I'd love it if we beat them! Love it!" rant on television encapsulated the collapse as United won the title on the final day of the season.

South Africa, 1999 World Cup

Some cruel cricket writers will define the word 'choke' as a description of South Africa in any World Cup, but their spectacular exit from the World Cup in England was an especially good episode in their series of underachievement. Requiring nine off the last over against Australia at Edgbaston, Lance Klusener belted two fours off the first two balls to lift all the pressure off, or so you'd think, as Allan Donald then was left stranded going for an unnecessary single and was run out, the game was tied and the Aussies went through.

Jimmy White, World snooker final, 1994

The Whirlwind had the country cheering him on in every one of his six unsuccessful final appearances at the Crucible, where he put himself in the driving seat more than once. In 92 he led Stephen Hendry 14-8 before freezing and losing ten frames on the bounce to go down 18-14, but two years later he had glory in his grasp at 17-17 and in the balls, before missing a routine black off the spot by miles to throw away another Crucible dream.

Roberto Baggio, 1994 World Cup

The Divine Ponytail was already a legend in the Italian game, and in America in 1994 he carried an underperforming team all the way to the final, which he played in despite having an injury. With the Italians holding Brazil to a 0-0 draw the World Cup would be decided on penalties for the first time, and with Italy 3-2 down their hero stepped up to keep them in the shoot-out, but he blazed the fifth penalty high over the bar under the pressure and Brazil lifted the trophy.

Jean Van de Velde, The Open, 1999

Frenchman Van de Velde held a three-shot lead going on to the 18th hole of the final round and was all-but assured of an easy victory. However, a horror show unfolded on the last as he took a seven, then lost to Paul Lawrie in a three-way play-off.

Jana Novotna, Wimbledon, 1993

Novotna was leading 6-7 6-1 4-1 against Steffi Graf and had game point to go 5-1 up in the women's singles final. But a double fault sparked a monumental collapse as she lost the final set 6-4 to hand the title to Graf. Novotna's tournament ended with her crying on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent as the awards were handed out.

Don Fox, Challenge Cup Final, 1968

In what is now known as the 'Watersplash Final', played on a soaked Wembley pitch, Wakefield Trinity trailed Leeds 11-10 in the final minutes but looked set to snatch victory as Don Fox lined up to kick from immediately in front of the posts. But he sliced it horribly and sank to his knees as the final whistle went. Fox was named man of the match, but never escaped the memory of how it all ended.

Scott Boswell, C&G Trophy final 2001

Leicestershire bowler Boswell sent down one of the worst overs ever in cricket as he suffered a huge case of yips and was unable to stop bowling wides against Somerset. Boswell sent down eight wides in a 14-ball over as he completely collapsed - and all this after taking 4-44 in the semi-final!

Scott Hoch, Masters 1989

Another Masters meltdown came in 1989 when American Hoch coughed up the green jacket with two crucial missed putts - the first a four-footer for par on 17 that surrendered his one-shot lead over Nick Faldo. The two went to a play-off and Hoch then had a tap-in to win the green jacket but the pressure got too much and he somehow missed. Faldo birdied the next to win.

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