Forgive Ernie Els if he thinks he's caught in a dreadful remake of Groundhog Day.
It was devastating for Els to lose the Masters on the 72nd hole to Phil Mickelson, but yesterday it got so much worse when that wound was re-opened at the British Open by a relative unknown named Todd Hamilton.
Twice Els had virtually the same putt on the 18th hole at Royal Troon, a 10-footer on the 72nd hole to win the British Open outright and then a 12-footer from the same angle on the fourth extra hole to extend the playoff.
He missed it both times, lost the Claret Jug and now it's destined to haunt him in the same way I Got Your Babe drove Bill Murray crazy.
"Right now, I'm thinking of the putt on the 72nd hole," said Els, once again looking like a man who had just been kicked in the stomach, not unlike he had looked at Augusta three months ago.
"That's the putt I'm going to be thinking about for a while. I had such a good second shot and it was such a weird pin placement where, if you were short of the hole, you had such a difficult putt.
"I'm going to think about that putt for a while."
He played equally well at Augusta and was waiting and hoping for a chance at a playoff when Phil Mickelson poured in the 18-foot putt that sealed his first major victory. In the same instant that the weight of the world was lifted from Mickelson's shoulders, Els was crushed by it.
Now he has finished second again and is becoming one of big-money golf's most well-paid bridesmaids. Yes, he's won three major championships and is a hairsbreadth away from taking over Tiger Woods' throne as No. 1 player but he's also finished second in six other majors, a tendency that grates on him.
"I think any of them is hard," he said. "I was in a similar position in April and I played well that time. I felt I played well this time. But I just didn't play the playoff well enough. I think it was a nice little horse race again, but I came up a little short.
"I got a little closer than in the Masters, but still came up a little short."
Down the stretch, Els was magnificent. He birdied No. 13 from another area code then, under the gun, nailed 16 and 17 to stay in the game. Just when he thought he was going to make the comeback complete and claim his second Open Championship in three years, golf happened. The third consecutive birdie was denied.
"I played really well coming in, just trying to get back in the race was a hell of an effort. Then I had the chance on 18 but just couldn't get the putt high enough."
In the four-hole playoff, Els just didn't seem to click. He hit a big drive and a good approach at the first, then missed another 10-foot putt that would have given him a quick playoff advantage.
When he got to the third playoff hole, the par-3 17th, Els missed the green, chipped it up to 12 feet and missed the putt.
"I just couldn't get the right read of the putts in the playoff," said Els. "I hit a poor putt (at 17), a makeable putt."
It won't matter to Els that he battled back from a double-bogey at the 10th hole and made an all-world par save at the 11th. His drive at the 490-yard 11th, a monster par-4, landed in a gorse bush and hung up in the prickly branches about three feet off the ground. Instead of taking an unplayable lie, Els elected to slash it out, baseball style.
"It's unbelievable," he said. "I don't think I've ever seen that happen. The ball was just kind of hanging there on that branch. I was quite nervous because when those guys at clinics do that, it goes about 200 yards. I was just trying to make contact."
As good as his golf swing looks, he'll never be mistaken for Mickey Mantle, but he made enough contact to move the ball a few feet into the rough and save himself a stroke penalty. He hit his next shot to within 10 feet and made the putt.
But that's not the putt that will be in Els' thoughts today, tomorrow and, well, every time he thinks of the 2004 Open Championship.
And no matter how often he replays it, there won't be a happy ending.