The Big Ouch: Els bothered by right hip injury

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Ernie Els turned 45 earlier this week and conceded Sunday that his body – specifically, his right hip – is starting to betray him.

After disappointing weekend rounds of 71-69 left him in a tie for fifth at the Hong Kong Open, Els said that “there’s a nerve that’s catching somewhere” in his right hip that has caused him discomfort.

The Big Easy said the issue has lingered for several months, but the pain intensified during the long flight to Hong Kong. Now he’s willing to “try anything,” even Chinese acupuncture.

“It’s been a bit of a problem,” he told reporters.

Though he needs to address the issue, Els said that he has no plans to scrap next week’s Macau Open or in the European Tour’s BMW Masters and WGC-HSBC Champions (an event co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour).

“I’ll keep playing,” he said. “I can’t come all the way out here and not play. So I’ll just bite the bullet and hopefully it will get better.”

Els began the year at No. 27 in the world but has tumbled down the rankings (to No. 51) after a quiet year. Though he came alive late with top 12s at the Canadian Open, PGA Championship and Barclays, those were his best results since February.