Dustin Johnson is no stranger to major heartache. But the star golfer on Sunday suffered a loss unlike any he -- or hardly any other golfer -- had experienced before. Standing just 12 feet away from the hole, Johnson needed to sink an eagle putt and the 2015 US Open was his. Instead, he pushed the ball left of the hole … and left himself a tricky little comebacker for birdie to finish tied for the lead and force an 18-hole playoff with Jordan Spieth. But Johnson missed that one, too, and Spieth was champ. One missed putt? Hey, it happens. Hell, even two to cost you a major has been done. But for Johnson, the 2015 Open marked the fourth time in his career he teed off in the final pairing on a major Sunday … and he is 0 for 4 in those Sundays. Here are some others who have come up short when they needed to be their biggest.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsKyle Terada
2015 Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are no longer the laughingstock of the NBA -- hell, they make the Lakers look like the old Clippers nowadays. The taint of the Donald Sterling era is also in the rear-view. But there’s still one thing the ‘new’ Clippers do that sure looks a lot like the ‘old’ Clippers. Find crazy ways to blow it. In the second round of the 2015 NBA playoffs, CP3 and company lost three straight close-out games to the Houston Rockets, including blowing a 19-point lead late in Game 6. What’s worse, the in-state rival Warriors trounced the Rockets in the next round en route to the NBA championship, and those darn Lakers lucked into the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft.
2015 Washington Capitals
Caps star Alexander Ovechkin guaranteed a Game 7 win over the Rangers, but Derek Stepan and New York edged Braden Holtby in OT for the win, completing a comeback from down 3-1 to reach the conference finals. The Rangers are the only NHL team to win series after trailing 3-1 in successive years, doing the same thing to Pittsburgh in the second round in 2014.
Phil Mickelson, 2013 US Open
Lefty's epic 72nd-hole collapse in the 2006 US Open stands among golf's biggest of all time (don't worry, we'll get there in a bit), but his overall collection of ummmm . . . work? . . . in the tournament deserves an entry unto itself. Sunday at the Open in 2013 was Father's Day. It was Mickelson's 43rd birthday. And it began in a way unlike any Open before: with Mickelson alone in first after 54 holes. But his putter never showed up and a pair of bogeys and two more double-bogeys left him a shot back entering the final hole. Instead of making birdie, he made bogey, giving him his record sixth runner-up finish at the Open. Again, this wasn't his most excruciating Open collapse!
2013 Boston Bruins
In the first round of the 2012-13 postseason, the Bruins pulled an epic Game 7 rally to land another team on this list (click ahead). But in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, Boston earned a spot all to itself — and a much more memorable one at that. Boston entered Game 6 trailing 3-2 in the series, but was aggressive at home and led Chicago 3-2 with little more than a minute to go. Then the Blackhawks scored to tie it. Oh, well . . . will just get 'em in overtime, right? Sure. Until 17 seconds later, when goalie Tuukka Rask was beaten by Dave Bolland for the game winner, and just like that the season was over.
JR Hildebrand, 2011 Indy 500
There are rookie errors, and then there’s this. In his first Indianapolis 500, JR Hildebrand was one turn from victory on May 29, 2011. He failed to make that turn. After moving outside to lap a slower car, he skidded into the wall, which allowed Dan Wheldon to pass him for the win. 'It’s a helpless feeling,' Hildebrand said after coasting to second place.
Jean Van de Velde, 1999 British Open
It almost hurt to watch Van de Velde sit there, untie his shoes and climb into the burn on the 18th hole at Carnoustie in the 1999 British Open. Just minutes earlier he had stood on the tee, a three-shot lead in hand with only a hole between him and the Claret Jug. A double-bogey was all he needed. But a wayward drive started one of the most disastrous holes in major championship history, and Van de Velde had to make a testy seven-footer just to save triple-bogey and reach a playoff. The Claret Jug ended up going to relative unknown Paul Lawrie.
Team Emirates of New Zealand, 2013 America's Cup
What happened in the waters off of San Francisco in September 2013 left many people calling the America’s Cup one of the greatest comebacks — or chokes — in sports history. Leading the American Team Oracle 8-1, New Zealand’s Team Emirates needed to win only one more race to take home the Cup . . . and had eight chances to do it. But the team was unable to seal the deal, losing eight consecutive races in the span of seven days to lose to the Americans, 9-8 in 19 races. And what made the loss more devastating was the fact that the Americans entered the event with a two-point penalty, a historic sanction levied days before the race that stemmed from a cheating episode in 2012. Also, three Team Oracle members were kicked out of the America’s Cup for the cheating. And they still won. U-S-A!
2011 Chicago Bulls & OKC Thunder
Derrick Rose (left) was the youngest MVP in NBA history. Kevin Durant was the youngest scoring champion in history. Both were All-NBA. And they both led their teams to all-world postseason meltdowns in the 2011 playoffs. The Thunder blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the West finals, all but ending their series vs. the Mavs, while the Bulls blew a 12-point lead in the last three minutes of Game 5 of the East finals vs. the Heat — and were eliminated.
2010 Boston Bruins
Boston was up three games to none in its second-round series with Philadelphia and looked well on its way to the conference finals. The Flyers had other ideas, overcoming that deficit to force Game 7. In the final game, the Bruins jumped on the Flyers, taking a 3-0 lead . . . at home. However, the Flyers again rallied to eliminate Boston in one of the Bruins' worst losses ever. It's one of only four times in NHL history that a team came back from down 3-0 in a series to win it. (P.S. Boston again took a 3-0 series lead vs. Philly the next year in the playoffs -- in the same round. This time, the Bruins won Game 4 and swept the Flyers en route to winning the Stanley Cup.)
Arnold Palmer, 1966 US Open
Even a Hall of Fame career has its low points, and Arnie had his in the 1966 US Open, where he blew a seven-stroke lead in the final nine holes, allowing Billy Casper to tie and force an 18-hole playoff. Casper then defeated the great Palmer after shooting a 69 to Palmer's 73.
2010 New York Giants
After the first half of their second 2010 matchup vs. the Eagles, it looked like the Giants were on their way to a rout, up 24-3. But Michael Vick and the Eagles had other plans, mounting an epic second-half rally that was highlighted by a 28-point flurry by Philly in the final 7:28. The dagger for the Giants came on the final play of the game. Tied at 31, the Giants punted the ball to the Eagles with 14 seconds remaining. Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson bobbled the punt, but collected the ball and darted up the field past the Giants for the game-winning TD.
Getty ImagesAl Bello
1978 Boston Red Sox
In 1978, the Red Sox curse was alive and well and led the BoSox straight into the hands of the Yankees. At one point in July, Boston held a seemingly insurmountable 14-game lead over New York in the AL East. But the Yankees stormed back and forced a one-game playoff with the Sox for the division. The Yankees won 5-4 on a home run by Bucky 'F-----g' Dent and went on to win the World Series in six games over the Dodgers . . . adding a painful chapter in The Curse to Red Sox fans.
1969 Chicago Cubs
Cubs manager Leo Durocher had a lot to worry about late in the season. Chicago spent 155 days of the 1969 season in first place only to lose 17 of 25 in September and fall out of first. The Miracle Mets, once nine games behind the Cubs, caught Chicago and went on to defeat the Orioles and win their first World Series championship.
Greg Norman, 1996 Masters
Norman wanted to win the Masters more than any other tournament. He had finished runner-up in 1986 and again in 1987, and had seven top-five finishes at Augusta. After a 63 in the third round, Norman took a six-shot lead into the final round in 1996. But Norman blew up on Sunday, shooting a 78, including an eagle chip on the 15th that lipped out of the hole, dropping Norman to his knees. He lost by five shots to Nick Faldo, who won his third Masters. A third-place finish in 1999 was the closest Norman ever got after that.
Jana Novotna, 1993 Wimbledon
One minute, Novotna was serving to go up 5-1 over Steffi Graf in the third and final set of the 1993 Wimbledon women’s final. The next, it seemed, she was sobbing uncontrollably on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent. In between, the 24-year-old Czech served a succession of double faults, which turned the match. Consoled by the Dutchess after the match, Novotna 'just let go.'
2007 New York Mets
The Mets, defending their first divisional championship since 1988, had a seven-game lead on Sept. 12 before losing 12 of their last 17 games, handing the NL East title to the Phils on the last day of the season — and fulfilling Philly shortstop Jimmy Rollins’ preseason prediction that his team would win the division.
1982 Edmonton Oilers
The 'Miracle on Manchester' by the LA Kings against the Edmonton Oilers in a 1982 playoff game, remains the largest comeback in NHL playoff history. Down 5-0, the Kings rallied to win 6-5 in Game 3 of the best-of-five series, and eliminated the heavily favored Oilers of Wayne Gretzky (below), who went on to star in LA just six years later.
2000 Portland Trail Blazers
Shaquille O’Neal's celebration following a dunk off an alley-oop from Kobe Bryant capped the Lakers’ rally from 15 down in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Facing an LA team with the best record in the league, Portland had won two straight to force Game 7. But the collapse paved the way for the Lakers to win the first of three straight championships — and hastened the demise of another dysfunctional Blazers team.
2004 New York Yankees
The Yankees remain the only MLB team to lose a seven-game series after taking a 3-0 lead, and their historic collapse paved the way for the Red Sox to end their 86-year World Series title drought. New York led Game 4 of the ALCS by one run in the ninth inning, but a rare blown save by closer Mariano Rivera tied the game, and a home run by Boston’s David Ortiz (pictured) won it in extra innings. Series MVP Ortiz also won Game 5 with a single in the 14th inning.
1992 Houston Oilers
'The Comeback' by the Buffalo Bills against the Houston Oilers in a January 1993 AFC wild-card playoff game remains the largest in NFL playoff history. Backup QB Frank Reich led the Bills back from a 35-3 deficit to win 41-38 on a field goal by Steve Christie (No. 2) in overtime. Christie’s shoe made it to the Hall of Fame; Buffalo made it to the third of four straight Super Bowl appearances (all losses).
1951 Brooklyn Dodgers
Roy Campanella Jr. (in wheelchair) may have felt 'It’s Good to Be Alive' when he wrote his 1959 autobiography, but the mood on the ’51 Dodgers wasn’t so upbeat after he and his Brooklyn teammates blew a 13-game lead in August, allowing the hated New York Giants to force a three-game playoff. Bobby Thompson’s ninth-inning home run off Ralph Branca won the pennant for the Giants and was immortalized as the 'Shot Heard ‘Round the World.'
1975 Pittsburgh Penguins
Bob Nystrom and the New York Islanders, playing in the franchise's first postseason, became the second team in NHL history to rally from down 3-0 in a series, beating Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals. They almost did it again in the semifinals, winning three straight against Philadelphia to force Game 7, but they fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Flyers.
Getty ImagesB Bennett
Phil Mickelson, 2006 US Open
As we stated before, Lefty has had more than his share of heartbreak at the US Open. But in 2006, it all came crashing down hardest. Mickelson stood on the 18th tee with a one-shot lead in the final round. The math was simple: Par wins it. But Mickelson, who had driven the ball poorly all day, pulled out the driver once again and missed the fairway badly. Rather than pitch out and take a big number out of play, Mickelson tried to hit a miracle shot. Instead, his attempt at a banana slice hit a tree and fell just 25 yards ahead of him. From there he was unable to save even bogey, let alone par. 'I just can't believe that I did that,' he said after the round. 'I am such an idiot.' Mickelson still has not won the tournament and has finished second six times.
2014 San Jose Sharks
Tomas Hertl (No. 48) and the Sharks became the latest to join the exclusive club of teams to blow a 3-0 series lead, getting eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings at home in the first round. It was the first of three consecutive seven-game series for the Kings, who went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years.
Getty ImagesRocky Widner
1964 Philadelphia Phillies
Despite his renown as a Phillies legend, Jim Bunning may still be haunted by 'The Phold.' Backed by Bunning’s pitching, longtime loser Philadelphia seemed destined to make it to the World Series — until the Phils blew a 6.5-game lead on Cincinnati with 12 games remaining, collapsing in a 10-game losing streak, with seven losses coming at home.
2013 Toronto Maple Leafs
Matt Frattin and the Maple Leafs blew a 4-1 lead over the Boston Bruins in the final period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and lost, 5-4, in overtime. It was the biggest third-period rally in Game 7 history. But Boston blew it on an even bigger stage, in the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago.
NHLI via Getty ImagesBrian Babineau
2014 Green Bay Packers
The Packers had the Seahawks on the ropes in the 2015 NFC Championship Game, leading 16-7 with 2:09 remaining. But QB Russell Wilson shook off his slow start to lead a TD drive, which he capped with a 1-yard run, then the Seahawks recovered an onside kick and scored again on a 24-yard run by Marshawn Lynch, followed by a two-point conversion pass from Wilson to Luke Willson. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a tying field goal with 14 seconds left, but Wilson struck again in OT, finding Jermaine Kearse on a 35-yard TD, and the Seahawks became the first defending champs to return to the Super Bowl in 10 years.