Open Championship

Els shaken after hitting fan

2014-07-17 22:00
Ernie Els (AFP)

Hoylake - Two-time Open champion Ernie Els endured one of his toughest days on a golf course at the British Open on Thursday when his first tee shot hit a spectator in the face.

SCOREBOARD: Open Championship - Round 1

VIDEO: Ernie Els 3-putts from 2 feet!

The popular South African, winner of the Open in 2002 and 2012, hooked his opening tee shot wide of the fairway at Royal Liverpool and it struck a man flush in the head.

Minutes later and clearly disturbed by the incident, the 44-year-old Els somehow managed to three putt from three feet when he tried to tap in a six-inch putt with the back of his putter only to see it slip wide.

"There's a bunker on the left and actually on the practice rounds I was looking to maybe missing it left. That is obviously what I did," explained Els after a round of 79 that left him 13 shots back of leader Rory McIlroy and in serious danger of missing the cut.

"It's obviously a dangerous shot, and obviously that's what happened, I hit the guy right in the face and there was blood everywhere.

"I felt pretty bad about it, because I was trying to hit it, you know, left, which I did. And obviously I probably should have started to move the people left on the left side, but I didn't do that.

"So I really felt bad hitting it there into the people and hurting the guy the way I did. Hopefully he's better now, but it wasn't very nice."

Els, who also won the US Open twice in 1994 and 1997, said the incident completely ruined his day.

"I was kind of finished after that and then I started missing short putts. It was a nightmare, so I'd like to put it behind me and just hope the gentleman feels better, because he looked really bad when I left him there.

"It was right in the face and you think the worst. It was like a bullet coming at him, so he must have been in total shock. He didn't look very good and I did speak to him, and he wasn't feeling too good

"He was probably in his sixties.

"Obviously I've hit spectators before but maybe in the leg or the back. I've never hit a guy, you know, the ball is moving hard right to left to right in the face.

"I remember my buddy Frank Nobilo getting hit in the head, and basically ended his golf career, it hit him right on the chin."


Hoffman leads at Texas Open

2015-03-27 06:53


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights


Which of the 8 South Africans competing at this week's 143rd Open Championship will fare best?

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.