Ernie Els wins 2012 British Open after Adam Scott meltdown

Els lanuches his ball into the crowd after his Open-winning putt on 18. (Getty Images)

No one's going to forget that Ernie Els won the 2012 British Open, but Els victory won't be what people remember.. No, the memories of the Open Championship will primarily revolve around Adam Scott's Van De Veldian meltdown as he bogeyed the final four holes to lose by a single stroke.

Even Els himself wasn't so much ecstatic about his win -- his second Open Championship victory -- as much as he was disappointed for his friend Scott.

"I feel for him. I'm numb," Els said afterwards. "Obviously later on it'll settle in that I won this golf tournament. But right now I feel for my buddy. He's such a great guy and such a great talent. And so close to being a great superstar."

Scott played well all week and appeared to be on cruise control for a victory thanks to the rest of the leaderboard spending the early part of Sunday falling off. Tiger Woods and Brandt Snedeker were never threats to challenge Scott.

Els wasn't supposed to be a threat either -- the South African fired a 2-over 36 on the front nine at Lytham and was 3-under for the tournament when he made the turn. But Els caught fire on the back, carding four birdies, including a momentum-swinging lengthy putt on 18.

It was a more difficult putt than the one Scott faced on 18 to force a playoff, but the Australian couldn't close the deal and pushed his putt just left of the hole before collapsing to his knees.

"I had it in my hands with four to go and I managed to hit a poor shot on each of the four holes," Scott said. "I'm very disappointed because I felt like I played beautifully for most of the week."

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf on Twitter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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