Tuesday, July 24, 2012


On Sunday Adam Scott had a four shot lead in the British Open (golf) with four holes to play. He bogeyed the final four holes and lost by a shot to Ernie Els. That sure seems like the definition of choking. In letting this Major escape his grasp Scott following in the footsteps of another famous Aussie choker golfer, Greg Norman.  But it's all swings and roundabouts as the last time an Aussie won a major it was thanks to a Phil Mickelson brain freeze in the US Open.

Also lost in the headline of Scott's collapse is the fact that almost everyone else on the leaderboard Saturday night, except Els, went backwards on Sunday.
  • Adam Scott +5
  • Graeme McDowell +5
  • Brandt Snedeker +4
  • Tiger Woods +3
It was a tough day to play golf. Luke Donald shot one under and moved up 9 spots!

Several other sites out there have made a sport of identifying chokers.  Here's a few to choose from:
  • An Aussie perspective: Sportsbar.net.au (From 2008, a bit old as it names Spain as chokers in soccer, they've since won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012! Although England held true to form with a penalty shootout loss to Italy! It also must come from rugby country as it leaves out Collingwood and St. Kilda!)
  • A US list with pics from: foxsports.com.
  • Here's another older list that does a good job of listing their Top 10 and telling a bit of the story.
  • Wikipedia even has an entry for choking (sports) with numerous examples including my (almost) hometown Buffalo Bills of the early 90's. Four consecutive Superbowls: Zero wins!
The Bible doesn't really talk about choking, but I think it gives a few examples of guys who choked in life.  They had everything going for them and then threw it all away.  Here's my list:

Top 5 Biblical Chokers

  1. Judas Iscariot - He actually followed Jesus around for 3 years.  He heard him teaching, he could ask questions, he had the opportunity that every Christian literally hopes to die for! Then he traded it all in for 40 pieces of silver that he later returned. Tragically his story ends with with hanging himself. (He literally choked himself... sorry, couldn't resist.)
  2. King Rehoboam - He took the throne after Solomon, Israel's greatest, richest, most powerful king.  Every coach or player following in the footsteps of a legend knows the pressure that comes with that situation. Rehoboam crumbled under the pressure. Intending to put his own stamp on the nation he raised taxes and applied a firmer hand in his rule. In response the people rebelled and the nation split into two kingdoms! (1 Kings 12)
  3. King Saul - The first king of Israel also had great expectations. The people demanded a king in spite of God's warnings.  He got off to a bright start in winning some battles, but ends his life turning from God, consulting a witch, and dying in battle with most of his sons.
  4. Moses -He accomplished a lot of great things for God, but he also bailed at crucial moments. Commissioned by God to confront Pharaoh, Moses gave one weak excuse after another until God eventually sent his brother Aaron to do all the talking for him. And the ultimate "choke" was leading Israel out of Egypt toward the Promised Land for 40 + years and then dying on the threshold of entering the land.
  5. 9 Lepers - There are lots of stories about lepers in the Bible.  They often demonstrate how God uses the weak things and people in life to accomplish his purposes. But Luke 17 tells of Jesus' encounter with 10 lepers.  He heals them.  That's a terrific blessing and high for them. They choke though, because 9 of them are forever remembered as failing to thank Jesus.  They serve as an object lesson of what NOT to do.  From a life changing high, to finger wagging for at least 2,000 years!!
Any other suggestions?

Moral: If you're going to choke, do it somewhere unimportant, like on the sports field.  Don't choke in life.  Keep your commitments. Finish what you start. 

1 comment:

  1. A friend on facebook offered this good addition:

    How about Jehoash? “And he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.”” (2 Kings 13:18–19)