Ernie Els had tamed his putting problems or so the story went.

He had switched from the long putter and was making strides with the short stick until the opening hole at today's Masters.

Twice a runner-up at the famed Augusta course, Els was seen as a useful outsider whose knowledge of the course and strong ball-striking would give him another shot at the title.

Not now, not after seven putts on the par four opening hole.

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Els had five feet left for a par and wrote down a 10 on his scorecard.

That's right, a double digit 10, a runaway record for the worst score in Masters history on that hole by two shots. Four players have made eight but Els marched right past them.

He missed a five footer, six footer then twice from three feet, then four feet before missing a backhanded slap for his 9th shot and dunking it for a 10.