'Yesterday is about the most disappointed I've ever felt walking off a golf course,' Els said Monday on his official Web site (www.ernieels.com). 'I was gutted.
'But let's keep things in proportion, this is sport. It's not like anyone died out there. I just have to take it on the chin and move on.'
The 38-year-old Els was in prime position to win for the fifth time in this event after splitting the fairway with his tee shot on the home hole. Then everything went wrong.
'I'm sure some people today might say I should have laid up short of the water (with my second) but I had only about 190 yards to the front edge and for me that's a comfortable six-iron.
'I really didn't feel like it was a lay-up situation. Like I said, people will disagree, but it's easy to be smart and make judgments after the event. I went with what I felt was the right shot at the time.'
After fanning his approach shot right into the water, Els compounded the mistake by hitting a wedge over the green into the hazard. He eventually missed a 7-foot putt to force a playoff.
'If you look back over the years some of the best players in the world have thrown away tournaments on the last few holes.
'What more can you say?'
Els will have the opportunity to redeem himself this week as he tries to successfully defend his title in the South African Airways Open.
'In many ways it's a good thing I'm playing again this week,' he said. 'I need to jump right back on the horse.
'I fully intend to bounce back strongly and win this week's South African Open for what would be the fifth time in my career. That would be the best early Christmas present I could give to myself.'