INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - JULY 12: Ernie Els of South Africa hits his 2nd shot on the 10th hole during the first round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links on July 12, 2012 in Inverness, Scotland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

INVERNESS, Scotland – Ernie Els' embarrassment at taking four shots in a greenside bunker during the Scottish Open almost became a whole lot worse when the South African was reported by an eagle-eyed TV viewer for a possible rules breach during the incident.

The two-time U.S. Open champion was confronted by senior referee Andy McFee after his opening round of 70 on Thursday and told that a viewer thought Els grounded his club in the bunker. Footage was reviewed but Els wasn't handed a two-shot penalty.

Els said he was “digging a grave” when he attempted to escape the hazard on No. 6 at the Castle Stuart links course.

“I was doing some bunker practice for the (British) Open next week,” he said. “I was slightly embarrassed out there.”

Els also made a double-bogey six on the 15th - his sixth hole after starting at No. 10 - but seven birdies allowed him to sign for 2 under, eight shots off the lead held by Francesco Molinari of Italy. – Sapa-AP