Open champion Ernie Els said he was gutted for his friend Adam Scott after the Australian blew a four-shot lead on the back nine on Sunday.
The South African was one of only nine players to shoot under par in the final round at Royal Lytham and St Annes with two-under, as the rest of the field fell away, including overnight leader Scott, who surrendered his hopes of a first major with four bogeys on his final four holes.
The 42-year-old admitted he felt for his friend, but has urged the Australian to put the loss behind him, and believes he is capable of winning more majors than his four.
"I really feel for my buddy, Scotty, I really do. I've been there before. I've blown majors before and golf tournaments before, and I just hope he doesn't take it as hard as I did," Els said.
"Obviously I'm so happy that I've won. But I've been on the other end more times than I've actually been on the winning end, so to speak. And it's not a good feeling.
"I'm speaking for myself, I think Adam is a little bit different than I am. I did see him afterwards in the scorer's hut and he seemed okay. I really said to him, 'I'm sorry how things turned out'.
"I told him that I've been there many times and you've just got to bounce back quickly. Don't let this thing linger.
"But thankfully he's young enough. He's 32 years old. He's got the next 10 years that he can win more than I've won. I've won four now; I think he can win more than that."
Scott opened with a course-record equalling 64 before rounds of 67 and 68 to fall just one shot short of the lowest 54-hole total in Open history, but could not hold at 11 under.
For Els it was a fourth major and first in a decade since he last won the Open in 2002.
The South African world number 40 described it as a huge turning point and admitted he had a good feeling heading into the final day.
"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 a crazy, crazy, crazy game," he said.
"I felt good after yesterday. I didn't play myself out of it yesterday. But still, you know, to make up all those shots, I just felt good.
"I don't know. It's hard to explain. For some reason I felt something good was going to come out of this. Even if I didn't win I was going to feel good about it because of all the work we've put in.
"My game is back to where I feel I can compete. If it wasn't this year, I feel I can compete in it next year."