/ 28 October 2009

Els slams European Tour schedule

Ernie Els hit out on Wednesday at the European Tour for scheduling the World Matchplay Championship to clash with the Singapore Open.

The big South African is the defending Matchplay champion and a seven-time winner of the event, but instead of being in Spain he is in Singapore where he is committed to play under contractual obligations with sponsor Barclays.

It is the second time in three years that Els has found fault with the scheduling after being unable to play the Volvo Masters in 2007 when it too clashed with Singapore.

At the time he was leading the European Order of Merit and claimed missing the Masters prevented him finishing the year on top of the money list.

”It has been a little controversial for me,” he said about this year’s scheduling.

”The one year here the European Tour put the Volvo Masters up against the Singapore Open [in 2007 when it was an Asian Tour event] and I could not play the final event on the European Tour and it cost me the money title.

”So I was not very pleased about that and the fall out from that, the criticism I got about European Tour players playing in an Asian event.

”We have got more controversy this week because of the Matchplay which they have put up against the Singapore Open, I do not understand that. It is a tournament I have won seven times.”

The World Matchplay Championship, which has run since 1964, leaves England’s Wentworth Golf Club this year for the first time in its history after a break in 2008 after HSBC pulled out as headline sponsor. — AFP