Ernie Els 7-putted the first hole at the 2016 Masters

Ernie Els 6-putted the first hole at the 2016 Masters


Ernie Els got his 2016 Masters off to a terrible start, with what scorers thought was a 7-putt, but turned out to be a 6-putt on the par-4 first.

Els reached the green on the first hole at Augusta National Golf Club in three shots but wound up carding a 9 (originally thought to be a 10) on the first hole. At first, a lot of folks thought it was some kind of scoring error. But no.

RELATED: Els again showed the yips on Friday at the Masters | What are the yips?

The 9 is the worst score ever recorded in the Masters on the 1st hole by a shot. Four players -- Olin Browne in 1998, Scott Simpson in 1998, Billy Casper in 2001, Jeev Milkha Singh in 2007 -- had previous made 8.

Els has been battling the yips since last year, missing several close putts by pushing them way right of the hole. This looks to be a case of that in action.

The four-time major winner has enjoyed a number of close calls in the past at the Masters, including 2004, but the 2016 Masters is apparently not going to be one of them. No champion at the Masters has even played a single hole -- much less the first of the tournament -- in 6 over par.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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