You gotta love Ernie. Truly.

Els

There are already 1000 reasons to love Ernie Els, but the latest might be near the top of the list.

Els, 47, carded a one-under-par 71 to begin the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship overnight.

But barring the South African's scrupulous etiquette, it could well have been a couple of shots better.

On Wentworth's par-5 12th hole, Els found his second shot plugged next to a greenside bunker.

The ball was sufficiently buried that the four-time major winner told his playing partners that he was going to mark it in order to identify it.

The South African then replaced his ball and proceeded to chip in for eagle.

But something didn't feel quite right for Els.

"The ball came out too good," Els said after his round.

"So I felt I didn’t quite probably put it exactly where I should have."

After conferring with a rules official, Els penalised himself two shots for playing the ball from the wrong place, ultimately costing him 20 spots on the leaderboard.

"It's one of those things. The game of golf is what it is," Els said.

"I know deep down the ball wasn't quite where it should be, and you know, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. So be it. It's a five, and we move on."

Bravo, Ernie!

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