Ernie Els found himself in a greenside bunker at the sixth hole at Castle Stuart in the first round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on Thursday. He spent an inordinate amount of time there – four shots, in fact.
After making a double-bogey 7 at the par 5 and carding 2-under 70 in Inverness, Els was pulled aside by European Tour senior referee Andy McFee to see if his score should be higher.
A television viewer called the Tour, notifying them Els may have grounded his club in the sand during one of his shots in the bunker. Paramor told Els they had reviewed the footage and Els was safe from penalty. The 7 remained that way, instead of a 9.
“That would have been a world record for me to be 10-feet from the green in two and to have walked off with a nine but then a seven in bad enough,” Els said. “I was just getting in some bunker practice at six for The Open. I was starting to get embarrassed there.”
Had he been penalized, the Big Easy would have been reprimanded by officials for a second consecutive European Tour event. Els was fined by the tour after he ripped into officials in an expletive-laced tirade for how they setup his re-design at Wentworth in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship in May.