Remember when you stepped up to the plate in Little League, in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs, and your team down by a run?

And you struck out?

This, times about 500,000, is how Mito Pereira felt in the late afternoon sunshine of the PGA Championship Sunday.

He had the thing won. Back home in Chile, televisions across his homeland were aglow as he was on the precipice of becoming one of the country’s great sports heroes.

Then he stepped to the 18th tee and suddenly turned into you and me.

His awkward drive sailed far right, and his follow-through looked like a weird move that might be made by a ballerina who had slammed down a pint of vodka before the big show. On one of golf’s biggest stages, a moment of glory had slipped through his hands and into those of someone who also knows these pressures and how to deal with them – Justin Thomas.

Virtually the only thing that would have kept Pereira from winning a major championship was hitting the ball to the right and into a creek. And he hit the ball to the right and into a creek. 

The first thing this brought to mind was Jean van de Velde’s classic collapse in the 1999 British Open. At Carnoustie, he triple-bogeyed the final hole from the lead in a monumental burnout that was difficult to watch.

To his eternal credit, Pereira didn’t hide from the moment. He didn’t race to his rental car, slam his clubs into the trunk, scream and yell and drive away at 90 miles per hour into the vapor.

He stood up and tried to explain, but he really couldn’t. “I don’t know what happened,” he said. 

He did admit to being nervous, and virtually anybody in his position – having come from nowhere to challenge for one of golf’s biggest trophies – would be. He was nervous, he said, even on Sunday morning with a three-shot lead.

Then there came disaster, with the whole world watching.

Go back to that Little League game. You’re already under big pressure, your team counting on you to produce. Just punch the ball into the outfield. Get a walk. Do something positive.

Now imagine a big CBS camera staring at you from only a few feet away. Imagine Nick Faldo getting ready to analyze every swing you make. Imagine every eye in the grandstands on you. Imagine running into the arms of your teammates after you crush a game-winning double into center field.

Then imagine your flailing, sagging attempt to hit a 3-2 pitch and missing the ball completely.

Without the pressure, you probably could have done it. On any other hole in a hundred other tournaments, Mito Pereira could have striped a drive down the middle of the fairway. But this was not the Greater Lubbock AT&T Coca-Cola Open. It was the PGA Championship.

It is demanding and scary and unforgiving. This time Pereira struck out.

The guess here is that he’ll be back.

The U.S. Open is June 16 through 19 near Boston. We’ll be watching.