Els’ trusty bagman gets a bad break

A FREAK accident during a pro-am prize presentation in his native South Africa scuppered Ernie Els’ plans of starting the 2012 PGA Tour season with his long-time caddie, Ricci Roberts, on his bag.

Roberts, who had competed in a charity tournament to raise funds for the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, broke his ankle after accepting a prize and will be out for at least two months.

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“I called Ricci up on stage and he did a little speech but when he walked off he just kind of missed his first step and he went down,” Els said before yesterday’s opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. “It was so damn dark and this stage was about this high,” the South African added, pointing six feet above the air. “The poor guy broke his ankle, so he’s out for a while.

“So I’ve got Dan [Quinn] to caddie for me instead but they [Quinn and Roberts] were going to share the bag in any case. I think Ricci’s going to be back with me probably by the middle of March.”

Els, a former world No 1 who has over 60 tournament wins worldwide, has spent most of his professional career with good friend Roberts on his bag.