Els was bothered by the wrist last weekend. He played in the final threesome alongside Tiger Woods in the third round, but shot even-par 72. He then shot 77 on Sunday to tie for 38th.
'Obviously, I am disappointed I couldn't play,' Els said in a statement. 'But given the soreness I felt earlier today, I knew there was no way I could play this week.'
Els' manager, Nic Frangos, added in a statement that Els probably should have withdrawn last weekend. He said Els plans to 'have therapy this week, resume practice next week and be ready in two weeks for the Masters.'
This is the first time since 1992 that the South African has missed this event. He has two top-10s in 10 starts here, with his best result coming in a tie for eighth in 1996.
The field is now 146. Aaron Baddeley is the first alternate and will be added if the total drops below 144.
Els, who has won four events in eight worldwide starts this year, is only one of the games stars who will not be on hand this week.
Phil Mickelson pulled out after his wife, Amy, gave birth to their third child. Evan Samuel Mickelson was born Sunday evening.
Thomas Bjorn has also withdrawn. The Danes wife is expecting twins in the near future.