Ernie Els has withdrawn from the upcoming Tampa Bay Championship due to a recurring problem with his right hip flexor.
After his round Sunday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Els confirmed that the problems he was having before Thursday’s first round continued to bother him throughout the week and that he needed to skip next weekend’s event to have the injury addressed.
“It’s been on and off for a while, and probably for about four or five months now,” Els said, pointing to the front of his right hip. “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.”
Vern McMullen, Els’ trainer, has been working on the hip all week. Els said an MRI exam might be necessary, or he might turn to Tom Boers, a spinal therapist in Columbus, Ga., with whom Els has worked for 15 years.
“I’ve got to get this sorted,” Els said. “It’s been bugging me for a while, and then it really went into spasm Thursday. I was like on the tee, almost gone.”
Els fell just short of winning at Tampa last year, when untimely bogeys on the last two holes dropped Els from the lead. His eventual T-5 finish was a considerable disappointment because Els had not earned an invitation to the Masters.
“I took Bay Hill 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.”