Ernie Els six-putts opening hole

2016 04 Ernieels1
• South African's first hole horror show
• Putting woes have been well documented
• Augusta National continues to haunt him


Ernie Els has had his fair share of painful memories at Augusta National. But things took a turn for the worst today, as the 80th Masters got underway.

Els, playing in the company of world No.1 Jason Day, six-putted the first hole to walk off with a nine. It was initially reported as a seven-putt, only to be corrected by officials.

He walked to the second tee six-over-par, an astonishing start to his Masters quest. He would go on to three-putt the second.

“It’s hard to explain. I can’t explain it,” said Els. “It’s something that I’m sure up there somewhere that you just can’t do what you normally do. It’s unexplainable. A lot of people have stopped playing the game, you know, it’s unexplainable.

"I couldn’t get the putter back. I was standing there, I’ve got a three‑footer - I’ve made thousands of three-footers - and I just couldn’t take it back.”

He added: “And then I just kind of lost count. The whole day was a grind. I tried to fight. I’m hitting the ball half decent and I can’t make it from two feet.”

His putting woes have been well documented. Nothing shocks the system, however, quite as much as this performance.

Els has been runner-up at Augusta National on two occasions, most painfully losing to Phil Mickelson in 2004, who played the last 12 holes in five-under. The South African’s worst finish at Augusta during a run from 2000 to 2004 was a tie for sixth.

Last season, he missed a tiddler at the Dunhill Links Championship, with some observers calling it the ‘worst putt of all time’.

Golf isn’t easy. And with the yips, it’s near impossible.

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