I will not be padlocked to US Tour, says Els

Ernie Els, who today begins his attempt to win the World Match Play title for a record sixth time, is in dispute with the PGA Tour in the States over how many of their tournaments he should play each season. Els, a man of the world who knows his own mind, is the wrong person with which to pick a fight.

Ernie Els, who today begins his attempt to win the World Match Play title for a record sixth time, is in dispute with the PGA Tour in the States over how many of their tournaments he should play each season. Els, a man of the world who knows his own mind, is the wrong person with which to pick a fight.

Els, who lives on the Wentworth estate and whose daughter, Samantha, goes to school locally, already plays more than the minimum 15 events in the States. But to play in Europe and Asia, Els is required to get a release from Tim Finchem, the US Tour commissioner.

"I think the need to understand the golfing world has changed," Els said. "There's a world outside America and I'm part of it. You can't start telling me, 'hey, come over here and leave the rest of the world'. It's not going to happen that way. I'm not hurting their tour by playing all over the world."

This season Els will play 17 times on the US Tour and 15 times on the European Tour, with some events overlapping. Els is an honorary member of the European Tour and poised to win the Order of Merit for the second successive year.

But while in America Retief Goosen is considered as a European Tour player and can return to Europe as much as he wants, Els's home tour is down as South Africa. "I am playing one less tournament in the States this year and it has become a big issue," he said.

"It's been on my mind all year with letters flying around. We need to sit down and talk about it. They want me to play over 20 events. If I want to play in Dubai, I need a release and to give them one extra tournament. Just because I have a Tour card over there they can't put a padlock around me. It's not going to work."

Els and Vijay Singh, the world No 1, head the field for the World Match Play, which has been expanded to 16 players. Once again, Tiger Woods is absent, as are Phil Mickelson and Davis Love despite the first prize of £1m.

"It's not that long a flight," said Els, who, admittedly, gets to stay at home. "They should really support world golf, especially when it is called the 'World Match Play' and has the history and the champions it has. I'm not sure of their reasons."

For the first time Els will have to play on the opening day and faces Scott Drummond, the PGA champion. "They have been kind to me in the past giving me a bye but, I guess, we should work for the money," he said.

The format of 36-hole matches will provide intriguing golf. Among the first-round encounters Lee Westwood plays The Open champion Todd Hamilton, Padraig Harrington faces Chris Riley while Singh plays the European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer.

Langer, who missed the cut in September in his only competitive appearance, nevertheless was a deserved winner of the Golfer of the Month award on behalf of the winning team at Oakland Hills.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine