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Els opts for family time over Euro Tour events

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Many veteran players have spoken in recent months about cutting back their playing schedules, but one who seems serious about it is four-time major champion Ernie Els.

Els announced this week that he will be skipping a pair of upcoming European Tour events, the Volvo Golf Champions in his native South Africa and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, to instead spend more time with his family in Florida.

"I am really sorry to miss the Volvo Golf Champions and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship but for personal reasons I have decided to remain at home with my family and play my first event once my children return to school," explained Els according to a Reuters report.

Now 44 years old, Els made 26 worldwide starts during the 2013 season, with 19 coming on the PGA Tour. He already has two starts under his belt for the new wraparound season, including a tie for 11th at the WGC-HSBC Champions, but last month reiterated his desire to play less competitive golf in the coming months.

"I haven't really got a game plan for next year yet, but I definitely have to play a slightly different schedule," the South African explained at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in December. "It's always been difficult leaving the house, but now you really see your kids growing up and it gets more difficult."