In the 1985 Steve Davies v Dennis Taylor snooker final Davies missed an easy black. Thing is, it was an easy black to win the World Championship after scores were tied at 17 frames all. Taylor sunk it to win, next shot.
The day after, in The Times, was a quote I can't get exactly right, or attribute, but it was along the lines of:
Anyone can walk along the edge of the kerb without falling in the road; but few can do it when there is a 500 foot drop next to it.
Psychological pressure is huge.
In 1991 Bernhard Langer missed a short, but tricky putt to save the Ryder Cup. Someone wrote that the pressure on that putt was impossible.
Yesterday Tiger Woods was the victim. He missed a putt he would have sunk 9 times out of 10; maybe 99 out of 100. It meant Europe not only retained the Ryder Cup but actually won it again 14.5 to 13.5.
One of the reasons we love penalty shoot-outs, last ball test matches, black-ball games and final-green putts for victory is watching great sports people hold it together in extreme circumstances. If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs...
Well done European golfers. Spring in my step today despite not really liking golf and having stayed up too late watching it.