How not to start the Masters: Ernie Els cards worst-ever 1st hole score (VIDEO)
The former world number one and four-time major winner reached the first green in three shots – leaving what seemed to be a relatively straightforward three-footer to make par.
But the South African’s skills on the green went AWOL as he then took six putts before finally tapping in to end the ordeal.
It could have been even worse, as scoreboards originally indicated that Els had needed seven putts for the hole, although TV replays show it was actually six.
Els, nicknamed the Big Easy, clearly found things tough-going, saying afterwards: "I can't explain it. I couldn't take the putter back," as reported by the BBC.
"I had three goes and then it went all over the place…I'm not sure where I'm going from here. If you have snakes in your brain it's difficult. Maybe I need a brain transplant."
Elsewhere, defending champion Jordan Spieth laid down a first-round marker, firing a six-under-par score of 66.
Going into the second day, that gives Spieth a two-shot lead over Irishman Shane Lowry and New Zealander Danny Lee, both on four-under, while Englishmen Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose are one shot further back at three-under, along with Spaniard Sergio Garcia.
Rory McIlroy played an inconsistent first round, and ended on two-under, and world number one Jason Day was two shots back at even par.