Els answered reporters queries Wednesday at the HSBC World Match Play Championship in England. He obviously is quite perturbed about the American situation ' the PGA Tour wants him to request a release for each event he plays on a separate tour. And then, according to the PGA Tour, he must play one event on the PGA Tour for each event on a rival tour.
Listen, I want to play in the U.S., said Els. As far as I'm concerned, I play enough tournaments in the U.S. For anybody to start asking me questions to play more golf tournaments in the U.S., I think I play enough over there.
I feel if you play 15 -- I play more than 15 over there. I live in the U.K., my children go -- Samantha goes to school here. Sounds like I'm living over there. Don't start putting a padlock around me, because that's not going to work.
Els is obligated to play 15 tournaments as a base requirement for the PGA Tour. He plans to play 17. But he also will have played nine other tournaments on the European Tour this year after this week. Unfortunately, the South African native doesnt count the European Tour as his home tour ' he counts the South African Tour. If he counted the European Tour, he could have unlimited appearances there.
I think they (the PGA Tour) need to understand that the golfing world has changed through the years, he said. There's a world outside of America, and I'm part of it. They can't restrict me from playing where I want to play.
Els said the PGA Tour wants 20 (appearances) and nothing abroad.
He will sit down and talk with tour representatives, he said, when he returns to the States to play in Tampa, Fla., in two weeks.
At the moment it is kind of letters flying around. But first I'd like to sit down and talk about it and find a way, because I am definitely not hurting their tour at all with my schedule,' he said.
I'm not hurting any other players on their tour, because none of them will do what I'm doing. So I'm not hurting anybody. I'm just helping, you know, the European Tour, I'm helping their tour. I'm playing all over the world.
Els has always been an international player, appearing in all corners of the globe. And he says he doesnt intend to change now.
No, why should I? he said. I've been doing this all my life. You can't start telling me, Hey, come over here and leave the rest of the world. It's not going to happen that way.
The issue came to a head this year, Els says, because I played one less this year (in America) than I played maybe the last two years ' so thats a big issue.
Els mentioned the situation of fellow South African Reteif Goosen, who has chosen the European Tour to be his home tour. Goosen, a PGA Tour member, may travel freely to the European Tour for appearances. Els also mentioned Australian Adam Scott, who likewise has chosen the European Tour as his home tour and has no limit on appearances there.
It's been on my mind all year, said Els.
But we'll talk to them when we get there. As I say I'm preparing a letter to send back to them, and after this letter we'll sit down and talk because they sent quite a strong letter to me.