The Big Easy, who had started the final round six shots off the pace, has had his criticism in the past 12 months but hit back to clinch his second career British Open and fourth Major triumph.
However, 32-year-old Australian Scott’s collapse in the final four rounds was one of the stories of the day and Els felt his pain.
“You’re a great player, a great friend of mine. I feel very fortunate. You’re going to win many of these,” Els said in reference to Scott.
He continued: “Amazing. I’m still numb. It still hasn’t set in. It will probably take quite a few days because I haven’t been in this position for 10 years, obviously. So it’s just crazy, crazy, crazy getting here.
“First of all, I feel for Adam Scott. He’s a great friend of mine. Obviously, we both wanted to win very badly. But you know, that’s the nature of the beast. That’s why we’re out here. You win. You lose. It was my time for some reason.”
Meanwhile, Adam Scott was philosophical in defeat and said: “I managed to hit a poor shot on each of the closing four holes. Look, I played so beautifully for most of the week. I shouldn’t let this bring me down.”
He added: “I know I let a really great chance slip through my fingers today. I had it in my hands with four to go.”