All of those who witnessed events at Royal Lytham last night will vouch for that. This was a quite astonishing finish to the 141st Open Championship.
Just when you thought Adam Scott was meandering to a maiden major, the Australian went for a walk on the wild side. In the end, it was the Big Easy who kept his head while those around him were losing theirs. And no one lost it more than Scott.
Holding a four-shot lead standing on the 15th tee, four bogeys on the closing four holes led to the most excruciating Open collapse since Jean van de Velde's Carnoustie calamity in 1999.
Scott, who eventually trudged in with a five-over 75 for a 274, may have tossed it away, but Els was there to grab the chance. The 42-year-old – the second successive 42-year-old to win the Open after Darren Clarke last July – was simply inspired on the back nine as he took it upon himself to make a significant move forwards as everyone else seemed to stagger backwards.
Six behind at the start of the day, Els was still five adrift of the seemingly untouchable Scott coming on to the inward half but an eight-foot putt for birdie on the 10th provided the catalyst for an ultimately decisive thrust. Two more would follow at 12 and 14 before the double US Open champion finished with a flourish. A 15-footer on the last gave him the clubhouse lead with a two-under 68 for a seven-under 273, just as Scott began to crumble. He missed a six-footer on 15 and horseshoed out from two feet on 16 before missing the green with a six iron on 17 and failing to get up and down from the rough. By the time he launched his three wood into the bunker off the 18th tee, his lead had evaporated. Limited to a hack out on to the fairway, Scott knocked his approach to six feet but his putt to force the play-off drifted past.
A decade after winning the Open at Muirfield in 2002, his last major win, Els, runner-up at Lytham in 1996 and tied third here in 2001, is back. Barely four months ago he was being written off when he failed to qualify for the Masters for the first time in almost two decades. Mocked by TV commentator David Feherty for utilising the belly putter, Els was on the ropes.
"In March I looked like an absolute fool," said Els, who became the first player to win the world's oldest major with a long putter. "People were laughing at me and making jokes. They were really hitting me low, saying I'm done and I should hang it up."
Who's laughing now? Els came into a bright and breezy day an unlikely winner with Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell favoured as those likely to challenge Scott's comfortable lead.
However, Woods, lurking ominously on six under after a steady stream of pars, got himself in a desperate guddle on the sixth when he found a nasty spot in the greenside bunker with his approach. His first thrash led to his ball ricocheting off the face and the three-time Claret Jug winner was forced to take evasive action to avoid the rebound hitting him on the shoulder and incurring a penalty.
The Lytham bunkers have brought many to their knees over the years and Woods was swiftly down on his as he tried to manoeuvre his way into a position from where he could attempt another escape from the sand. Sprawled outside the bunker with his ball still in it below him, he looked like a Tiger settling down for an afternoon nap on the Serengeti. His swipe did get it out but it was 40 feet from the flag.
The former world No.1 dunted his first putt to about three feet, then missed the short one for a crippling triple-bogey seven at a hole he had birdied three times in his previous three rounds. The wheels on the Woods wagon were certainly shoogling and it looked like they would fly off completely when he plunged his tee-shot on the par-five seventh into heavy rough. Through the back of the green in three, Woods chipped in for birdie to salvage something from the wreckage. He eventually posted a 73, finishing third on 277 – his best Open since his 2006 win – with his fellow American, Brandt Snedeker, wounded by double bogeys at seven and eight in a 74.
McDowell also could not mount a sustained challenge. The Northern Irishman bogeyed the bothersome sixth but it was merely the beginning of his woes. His round unravelled around the turn. Back-to-back bogeys at nine and 10 were bad enough but, as he tried to stem the haemorrhaging of shots on the par-five 11th, the blood letting just got worse. A wild hook with his bold approach into the trees led to a forlorn rummage amid the various bushes and branches.
In the end it was a lost cause and he had to be ferried back on a buggy to play his fourth shot from where it had all started going wrong. McDowell did well to keep it to a bogey six but it was a sour end, as he carded a 75 for a 278 and tie for fifth with Luke Donald. But all the others' pain was overshadowed in the gathering dusk by the events surrounding a 32-year-old Australian.