The MastersApril 7, 2016

Ernie Els makes 9 on first hole thanks to six putts (Updated)

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Ernie Els' start to the 2016 Masters was a disaster of biblical proportions.

The 46-year-old carded a 9 (Originally recorded as a 10) at Augusta National's first hole, tying the highest score on "Tea Olive" in Masters history. Worse, it wasn't just that Els made a 9. It was how.

The four-time major winner took six putts on the hole, all from three feet or less.

"Everyone was just dumbfounded," a gallery guard by the first green said shortly after. "I've been doing this for a long time, and I've never seen anything like it."

Another marshal said he lost count of the putts, and the performance was so bad that the Masters' shot tracker was unable to illustrate all of Els' strokes on the first green:

What's not seen in the video is Els' delay before hitting his first putt. Fans around the green said Els backed off the first putt three times before his caddie gave him a pep talk. Obviously, it didn't work.

On the second hole, Els again was plagued by short-game woes, three-putting from 25 feet, including a missed three-footer for birdie.

Els is no stranger to such issues, with two missed gimmes caught on tape in the past year:

To Els' credit, he only shot three over on the final 17 holes in windy conditions. Yes, it was still an 80, but it looked like it was going to be a lot worse.


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