Thirteen seconds elapsed from the moment Adam Scott anchored the broomstick-length putter to his sternum and watched the 7-foot par putt slide by on the left side of the cup at 18, causing his knees to buckle. The rest of his golfing life may pass before he puts himself back in that position again.
The major championship trophy that Scott seemed destined at long last to hold was firmly in Ernie Els' grasp instead. The Aussie's eyes were still dry, but glassy. A few hundred yards away, a crowd that packed the last grandstand at Royal Lytham expecting to celebrate a once-precocious talent finally coming into his own at age 32, filed out in almost-funereal silence.
They, too, seemed stunned by one of the biggest collapses in British Open history.
"Look, it may not have sunk in yet, so I don't know," is how Scott began describing his emotions. "Hopefully I can let it go really quick and get on with what I plan to do next week and get ready for my next tournament. We'll see. I don't know. I've never really been in this position, so I'll have to wait and see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow."
Scott paused and absent-mindedly drummed his fingertips on the tabletop in front of him. He stared somewhere off in the distance.
"It's tough. You don't want to sit here and have to ... I can't justify anything that I've done out there. I didn't finish the tournament well today. But next time, I'm sure there will be a next time," Scott looked out hopefully toward a roomful of reporters, "and I can do a better job of it."
There is no kind way to say it, but Scott could hardly have done a worse job.
He bogeyed the last four holes in succession, compounding each mistake with another unrelated one -- a blown sand save at 15, a missed 3-footer at 16, a wayward approach at 17, and finally, an errant drive at the last -- until it resembled a chain-reaction car crash.