AUGUSTA, Ga. — Ernie Els made dubious Masters history in the opening round Thursday, scoring a 10 on the par-4 first hole — by two shots the highest score on the hole in 80 years of the tournament.
Els, 46, a World Golf Hall of Famer who has won four major championships, 7-putted the first green at Augusta National after chipping from off the green to within 3 feet for what appeared to be an easy par.
But from there, Els could not get the ball in the hole, looking exasperated with each miss. He carelessly one-handed the ninth shot and missed before doing so again and holing for a sextuple-bogey 10.
Els, who won The Open in 2012 using a belly putter, has struggled with the “yips” in recent years. Starting on Jan. 1 of this year, the rules of golf banned the use of an anchored putting stroke.
At the Dunhill Links Championship last year and earlier this year at the South African Open, Els also missed short putts with badly yipped putts that went viral.
After the one at the Dunhill in Scotland, Els described himself on the green as a “little bit jumpy.”
“That was a disaster,” Els said then. “Anybody who has ever seen the yips, obviously that was the perfect yip stroke you’ve ever seen I your life. It is what it is. The game of golf you’ve got to do some silly things when you play long enough. … Hopefully I won’t have too many of those again, because you can’t play golf like that.”