Ernie Els distraught after hitting spectator

2014 07 Ernie Els1

Ernie Els has admitted he found it hard to re-focus after badly injuring a spectator with his first shot of this year’s Open Championship.

Els, a two-time winner of the Claret Jug, struck an elderly man directly in the face with his ball after pulling his opening shot into a group of spectators. He proceeded to triple-bogey the hole and took 42 shots to play the front nine in seven-over.

The 44-year-old South African managed to compose himself enough to play the back nine in level-par but admitted afterwards that he had been badly shaken by the experience on the first.

“I hit the guy right in the face and there was blood everywhere,” he said. “I felt pretty bad about it, hurting the guy the way I did. Hopefully, he’s better now but it wasn’t very nice.”
“It was like a bullet coming at him." - Ernie Els

Asked if the incident had affected his game, Els said: “Yeah, I was thinking about him. There was blood all over and I was quite rattled. I was kind of finished and then I started missing short putts. It was a nightmare. I just hope the gentleman feels better because he looked really bad when I left him there.

“It was like a bullet coming at him, so he must have been in total shock. He didn’t look very good. I spoke to him and he wasn’t feeling too good getting hit.”

Els, who estimated the man was ‘probably in his 60s’ added: “I’ve hit spectators before but maybe in the leg or the back. I’ve never hit a guy right in the face. I remember my buddy Frank Nobilo getting hit in the head and it basically ended his golf career. I don’t know how many stitches he needed.”

The ‘Big Easy’ added that he thought the man may have required medical treatment. “I’m sure he had to, he was pretty badly injured," he said.

Follow Ernie Els & Co. with bunkered

Keep up-to-date with all the latest goings on with Ernie Els and he rest of the field from the 2014 Open Championship direct from the bunkered team. Follow us on Twitter (@BunkeredOnline) and Facebook (

Share this Article

twitter-logo facebook-logo

Latest Videos See all videos right arrow

play button
2022 Driver Test | Which one is going in my bag?
play button
The most powerful PING irons ever? | PING i525 review
play button
I'll be using the Vokey SM9 wedges... and you should too
play button
The driver that has it all? | COBRA LTDx drivers REVIEWED!
See all videos right arrow

Golf News

Jon Rahm reveals hilarious advice to wife after birth of son
Ewen Ferguson reveals celebrity advice after course record
Cam Smith drops biggest LIV Golf hint yet
Golf courses urged to "take immediate action" amid heatwave
PROMOTION Toptracer reimagines how you practice

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods: Inside his $41million Florida mansion
The very best pubs in St Andrews
The Scottish Golf Course Emoji Quiz!
24 lies every bad golfer tells
Doug Sanders: The extraordinary life of golf's original playboy

Quick Fault 'n' Fixes See all videos right arrow

play button
The right address is the basis of every good golf swing
play button
How to stop hooking the ball
play button
Lengthen your backswing for more power
play button
Use your hands less during the golf swing
See all videos right arrow