Yesterday as the unthinkably likeable Aussie (I know, its difficult to say), triumphed in golfs greatest major. His jubilation after throwing away the Open Championship last year was unbridaled and he may very well be one of those golfers that generates genuine happiness at his success. Scott with long-putter managed to win the Masters after beating another of World Golf’s more likeable characters, the burly Angel Cabrera in a play-off. In doing so Adam Scott ended the 76 years of hurt for Australians as 8 second place finishes were finally completed with a first Masters for Australia (Still four behind South Africa #JustSaying). What this made me think about are other curses in sport that were completely ridiculous but, like Australian golf fans, hoping to be celebrating an end to the curse, sooner rather than later.
GOLF: The Par-3 Winner has never won the Masters
We may have waxed lyrical about this already in the Par-3 contest review, but it is a sensational stat that no winner of the Par-3 Contest has ever won the Masters. This curse has often led to players in the lead of the Par-3 contest purposely sending a ball for a swim, allowing their kids to putt or just not making an effort to avoid victory. This years winner Ted Potter Jnr did not even make the cut, extending the run to 55 years. Only once has someone got close was Raymond Floyd who after winning the Par-3 contest in 1990 lost the Masters by playoff to Nick Faldo. I expect this one will remain constant for a while longer.
CRICKET: South Africa have never won the Cricket World Cup
The hurt started in 1992 when South Africa were allowed to compete in the World Cup for the first time since isolation due to apartheid. It started with ridiculous as the lack of a duckworth-lewis system eliminated South Africa in 1992, Brian Lara eliminated South Africa in 1996, heartbreak in 1999, incorrect maths in 2003, Australia in 2007 and choking in 2011. The incredible statistic of this time is that South Africa have played in 5 knock-out games in total and failed to win one. Their record in the other games is a very impressive played 42 won 31.
BASEBALL: The Curse of the Billy Goat
In 1945 Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave Wrigley Field as his goat’s odor was disturbing other fans of the Chicago Cubs. An outraged Billy was rumoured to have stated, with remarkable eloquence, “Them Cubs, they aint gonna win no more” . What followed from this was a streak unrivalled in Baseball. The cubs have not won a National Pennant since this incident and have now not won the World Series in 104 years. Do yourself a favour and go and read up on all the ways the Cubs have tried to break the curse over the past couple of years, including taking goats to away games, inviting Billy’s son to the stadium with a goat and hanging a slaughtered goat’s head on the statue at Wrigley Field.
TENNIS: The wait for a British winner at Wimbledon
When Fred Perry won Wimbledon in 1936, Britain would never have anticipated the wait that would follow for the next British mens champion at the All England Club. The hysteria around this produced much pressure on all challengers and after 1938, Great Britain had to wait 74 years befoe another British player made the final. Andy Murray may be the next great hope to break this horrible streak, however the pressure he will face at Wimbledon (No the Olympics doesnt count) will be second to none as the hordes that pack Henman Hill (Maybe now Murray Mound) wait with a breath of expectany.
SOCCER: England, knockout football and the penalty shootout
They say that nobody likes a match to finish in penalty shootouts, “they” must be English! Since England won the World Cup in 1966, there has been a level of expectancy each time that they enter a knockout competition. However their record at said competitions is simply woeful for a country of that stature and a youth system that rivals any in the world. The World Cup has seen a quarter final elimination in 70 and 86, 02 and 06, Round of 16 dismissal in 98 and 10 and Semi Final elimination in 1990. Of course their record in the European Championship in this time is just as bad with only 2 semi final appearances. Of course in this time the elimination has more often than not come in penalty shootouts with England losing penalties at WC 90, Euro 96, WC 98, Euro 2004, WC 2006 and Euro 2012. If England are to defeat this menacing streak, they will probably have to do so by winning in normal time.
Are there any other streaks you are aware of? Let me know.