Term describing the phenomenon in sports where, due to tremendous pressure, athletes fail to perform up to the best of their ability. This can lead to great hatred and possibly even death threats from fans of the athlete involved. Possibly due to the tense, individual nature of the game, choking most often occurs in golf.
"Great" chokes and chokers in modern sports history:
- Golf-Scott Hoch, 1989 Masters. Carrying a one-stroke lead going in to the final hole, Hoch simply needs to make a 18-inch putt to win. He misses and loses a playoff to Nick Faldo the next day, becoming forever known as "Hoch as in choke".
- Golf-Greg Norman, 1996 Masters. With a six-stroke lead at the beginning of the final round, Norman shoots 79 and loses by six to Nick Faldo in the biggest final round comeback in Masters history.
- Golf-Jean Van de Velde, 2000 British Open. Going into the last hole with a three shot lead, the Frenchman proceeds to hit the ball in the water(after getting lucky two other times), making triple bogey and forcing a playoff, which he eventually lost to Paul Laurie.
- Basketball-Nick Anderson, Game 1, 1995 NBA Finals. In the final minute of the fourth quarter, Anderson misses four consecutive free throws, allowing the Houston Rockets to take the game and eventually the series over the Orlando Magic.
- Baseball-Bill Buckner, Game 6, 1986 World Series. In a game tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 10th inning, Buckner allows a Mookie Wilson ground ball to roll between his legs, scoring the winning run for the New York Mets, who would go on to win the series in seven games. This choke is made particularly notable due to the so-called "Curse of the Bambino" on the Boston Red Sox, who have not won a Series title since the departure of Babe Ruth from the team in 1918.
- Golf-Phil Mickelson
- Football-Buffalo Bills, 2002 St. Louis Rams
- Basketball-San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers