Els to skip Dubai event in protest of Euro Tour rules
Ernie Els is upset, and he's passing up a chance at a big payday to make his point.
The 44-year-old South African will skip next week's DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in protest of new European Tour rules requiring its members to play two out of the three events leading up to the season finale in order to remain eligible for its $8 million prize.
"Why would they make a decision like that and expect guys to play?" asked the four-time major champion and former World No. 1, according to Andrew Both of Reuters. "It's farcical. In my view it's an absolute joke.
I can see (the tour's point of view) but it's crazy. I've been playing both tours since 1994 and it's been no problem but for some reason now the European Tour expect us to play a full schedule.
We used to play seven events and you could keep your card in Europe. Now you have to play more than in America. (That is) the direction they're going in. I just think it's the wrong one.
I'm going to have to look at my schedule. I was there for the growth of this tour, 22 years, and now they've making it almost impossible for me… to remain playing the tour."
In recent years, The European Tour has struggled to retain some of its top non-European talent as elite players without Ryder Cup aspirations leave to seek bigger purses on the wealthier PGA Tour. 2013 Masters Champion Adam Scott of Australia gave up his membership several years ago, while Els -- currently 14th in the Race to Dubai standings -- has grown into one of the tour's most respected veterans.
Asked how European Tour officials reacted to the news that he would not play in Dubai, Els said: "I don't think they really care."