HOYLAKE, England (AP) — Two-time champion Ernie Els injured a spectator with his opening tee shot at the British Open and four-putted the first green, including a bizarre backhanded putt from over a foot.
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.