Els shaken up by hitting fan, leads to missed backhanded putt
By Bernie D'Amato under The Open Championship


Ernie Els is a two-time Open champion, but he shot himself out of the tournament with an opening 79. The worst part of his round came on the first hole when his tee shot struck a spectator in the face. Els saw the man’s bloody face, and after the round, said, “I felt pretty bad about it because I was trying to hit it, you know, left, which I did. And obviously I probably should have started to move the people left on the left side, but I didn’t do that. So I really felt bad hitting it there into the people, and hurting the guy the way I did. Hopefully, he’s better now, but it wasn’t very nice.”

Els went on to say he was rattled by the unfortunate event. “I was kind of finished. And then started missing short putts. It was a nightmare. So I’d like to put it behind me. I just hope the gentleman feels better, because he looked really bad when I left him there.”

The first hole also included a breakdown of Els’ solid putting mechanics, which led to a triple-bogey 7. The video is courtesy of BMP’s vine account: