Els to skip Dubai event over 'farcical' tour demands
By Andrew Both
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Former world number one Ernie Els has described as "farcical" the European Tour's increased playing demands and will register his disapproval by skipping next week's flagship season-ending event in Dubai.
The South African is annoyed at the tour's new regulation that its members must play two of the three events leading into Dubai to be eligible for the $8 million season finale.
Els, a four-times major champion who has been a member of the European Tour for nearly two decades, is clearly hurt that the tour does not seem bothered about whether he plays in Dubai.
"I don't think they really care," Els said wearily when asked how the tour had reacted to the news that their most celebrated veteran member would not play in Dubai.
"Why would they make a decision like that and expect guys to play? It's farcical. In my view it's an absolute joke."
Els, who is also a member of the U.S. PGA Tour, said he understood why the European Tour wanted to coax its top players into contesting more of the big-money Asian tournaments.
"I can see (the tour's point of view) but it's crazy," he said. "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. Continued...