Goose lays rotten egg with final round collapse

It seems it takes something more than one of the biggest collapses in major championship history to ruffle Retief Goosen's feathers. 

The unflappable South African remained as cool as his iceman image after letting a third US Open crown in five years slip through his fingers on Sunday and into the hands of a surprised Michael Campbell after fumbling his way to final round 11-over 81. 

As the day began, nearly everyone had conceded the trophy to Goosen, who had strung together three superb rounds on a punishing Pinehurst No. 2 layout that had brought the rest of the field to its knees, constructing a three-shot lead. 

However, after just three holes, Goosen's advantage disappeared with a par, double-bogey, bogey start and it managed to get even worse from there. 

“I got off to a bad start and from there it pretty much went downhill all the way,” explained a gracious Goosen. 

“It's been a bad day. 

“Unfortunately, those things can happen. It happened to Ernie (Els) last year and unfortunately, this year, it 's my turn. 

“But I'm very happy for Michael that he won, we are very good friends. I'm happy that he's champion. 

“This is nothing serious. Nobody had died ... I think? 

“I had a great Father's Day this morning with the kids, and the family is a lot more important than playing anyone out there today. 

“But it was disappointing. I would have obviously loved to have been up there giving myself a half of a chance. 

“But I'll be back next time.” 

After Goosen had methodically moved three shots clear with a one-under 69 on Saturday, even the world number five indicated he liked his chances of defending the title he won last year under similar treacherous conditions at Shinnecock Hills. 

The media were ready for a coronation; the headlines on Sunday morning hailing the rock steady South African as the "Golden Goose". 

His fellow golfers also sounded ready to see him lift the title again. 

"The Open requires patience and composure and he's probably the leader in the field in both those categories, he never gets flustered," Stewart Cink said. 

"His composure is up there with the best of them and he won't let it go south." 

Certainly there was no evidence of any cracks in Goosen's game. 

For 54 holes he had teased and taunted what had been a vicious Pinehurst layout but on Sunday, the course finally sunk its teeth into the defending champion. 

"It's only a game at the end of the day and we carry on with life." – Reuters 

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