Worse might have been to come when European Tour senior referee Andy McFee was waiting to speak to him after his round, but the South African was cleared of any wrong-doing during his nightmare in the sand at the 568-yard sixth.
"Some viewer called in and thought I did something which I didn't," said Els. "Maybe thought I was kicking and screaming - no penalty."
Two extra shots would have made it a quadruple bogey nine.
"That would have been a world record. Next to the green 10 feet from the hole in two and I make nine. Seven is bad enough."
Els described his first lie as "really horrendous" and said that after failing to get that one out it was merely a case of "digging a grave. I was slightly embarrassed there."
It was an action-packed round. He also double-bogeyed the 15th, had another six at the long 12th, but also seven birdies.