Palm Harbour, Florida - Reigning British Open champion Ernie Els said on Tuesday he has withdrawn from this week's $5.5-million US PGA Tampa Bay Championship because of nagging soreness in his right hip.
The 43-year-old South African said in a blog posting on the PGA website that his only outing of the week will be a Tuesday trip to Augusta National for a “gentle walk” around the Masters course ahead of next month's first major of the year.
“Other than that I'll have to pretty much rest up for most of this week,” Els said. “Doctor’s orders, as they say.”
Els failed to qualify for last year's Masters, missing the event for the first time since 1993, but ensured his return last year by capturing the British Open after a collapse down the stretch by Australian Adam Scott.
At last week's World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship, Els finished in a share of 28th at Doral, where he had won twice before.
“The week didn't go too great, mainly because my right hip was causing me problems again,” Els said. “It has been bugging me for a while now and then it really went into spasm on Thursday morning.
“I was on the first tee thinking 'Maybe I shouldn't be starting this round’. Anyway, I tried to play through it, but it's not feeling right. I've got to get this sorted.” - Sapa-AFP