Scott appeared to be cruising to his first Major triumph at Royal Lytham and St Annes yesterday when he was four in front with four to play.
Incredibly, the Australian finished with four straight bogeys to hand victory to a gobsmacked Els.
The South African won The Open at Muirfield in 2002 and was delighted to get his hands on the Claret Jug for the second time.
However, he admitted he was gutted for his close friend Scott and the painful manner of his defeat.
Els, though, is confident the 31-year-old will recover from the bitter disappointment and win many more Majors than him the future.
He said: "I have been on the losing side more times than I have been on the winning side and it is not a good feeling.
"I saw Adam in the scorer's hut afterwards and he seemed okay. I said I was sorry how things turned out."
Scott was determined to remain upbeat.
"It was a very sloppy finish by me," said the 32-year-old.
"I played so well all week. I wasn't even really out of position and I managed to get myself in some trouble and couldn't make the putts to get out of it the last four holes.
"I know I've let a really great chance slip through my fingers here, but somehow I'll look back and take the positives from it.
"I don't think I've ever played this well in a Major championship, so that's a good thing.
"All the stuff I'm doing is going in the right direction. This is one of those days, and that's why they call it golf. Hopefully I can let it go quick and get ready for my next tournament."