Not the way you want to start a British Open.
Ernie Els' opening shot of the tournament clocked a spectator, and that was only the beginning of a hole to forget. Facing a 1-foot putt for bogey after a bunker shot, he missed. When he went to backhand the double-bogey putt that had rolled further away than his original putt, he missed that too. He eventually got the ball in the hole for a triple-bogey.
The triple-bogey 7 was only the start of Els' problems at Royal Liverpool on Thursday. The Big Easy will have a big task trying to stick around for the weekend after shooting a 7-over 79, including 42 on the front nine.
Els said he was shaken up after he realized the man, who he estimated was in his 60s, was bleeding profusely from his shot that appeared to hit the spectator directly in the face.
The South African said he may have dragged down his playing partners – defending champion Phil Mickelson shot 74, and Masters winner Bubba Watson had a 76. After his round, Els found the spectator whom he hit and reported on Twitter that the spectator was okay..
Really tough day today. Just spoke to the gentleman I hit on the 1st and happily he’s fine. Got him some tickets @The_Open this weekend.
— Ernie Els (@TheBig_Easy) July 17, 2014
— Eamon Lynch (@eamonlynch) July 17, 2014