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In role reversal, a birdie gets Ernie Els

A bird defecated on golfer Ernie Els as he bent over to pick a ball out of a hole.

South African golfer Ernie Els. Picture: AFP.

FLORIDA - It is safe to say Ernie Els did not have the happiest start to his final round at the Players Championship on Sunday after the South African bogeyed the first and a bird defecated on him as he bent over to pick the ball out of the hole.

"I was standing right next to him and it missed me and it got him," said playing partner Justin Rose, who carded a six-under-par 66 for the second-best round of the day.

"So they say it's good luck if the birdie manages to sort of land on you. And I guess it was good luck for me, not Ernie today, I'm afraid."

Els closed with a three-over-par 75 to finish in a tie for 64th, well behind wire-to-wire winner Jason Day.

Rose said Els managed to see the funny side of the incident.

"Yeah, that was kind of a humorous moment to start the day, had us both giggling," he said. "Had me kind of chuckling under my breath trying to make a two-footer for par."