Ernie Els has pulled out of the PGA Tour’s Tampa Bay Championship with a sore hip.
The Big Easy, who complained of pain in his hip before last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship, said a recurring issue with his right hip flexor needed attention and he would miss the Tampa event to deal with it.
“It's been on and off for a while, and probably for about four or five months now,” Els told Golfweek’s Alex Miceli. “I've been working out and trying to get fit and strong, but it's just kind of lingering. I've got to try and work it out.”
During the opening round at TPC Blue Monster, Els received treatment for what was reported to be a back injury. The four-time major winner, who finished at 3-under and in a tie for 28th place in last week’s elite field at Doral, was disappointed not to return to Tampa, where he finished T5 in 2012 after losing the lead with bogeys on his two finishing holes.
“I took Bay Hill [the Arnold Palmer Invitational] off; I was going to play Tampa because I love Tampa, it's a great course,” Els said. “Bay Hill you could be hitting good shots and still get penalized. With Tampa you've got to play good golf. It's a very fair course. But I can't play feeling like this.”
World No. 3 Luke Donald will defend his Tampa Bay title at the 7,340-yard, par-71 Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course starting on Thursday. Also in the field are WGC-Accenture Match Play winner Matt Kuchar and reigning U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson. Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott, who shared third place at last week’s event, will also tee it up on the Larry Packard-designed track.