Els, the World No. 3, has a five-year-old daughter that is starting school in London, England the week after the Match Play event. He chose to remain with his family as they travel from their house in South Africa to another of their homes in Wentworth, England.
'My decision to withdraw from the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship is based solely on my family priorities taking precedence over my professional schedule,' Els said in a statement.
'Unfortunately, and with much regret, this year's Accenture Match Play Championship falls on the week preceding Samantha beginning her first year of school in London. As every parent knows, this is a milestone in the life of a child and I therefore have chosen to share this time with my daughter and family.'
Els becomes the second player to withdraw from the event. Kirk Triplett withdrew to attend the wedding of a close friend. He was replaced by Briny Baird. Els' withdrawal creates an open spot likely to be taken by Japan's Shingo Katayama.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk is likely to miss the event as well due to torn cartilage in his left wrist.
The field for the Accenture Match Play Championship features the top 64 available players from the Official World Golf Ranking that were released on Monday, February 16. Players have until a half-hour after play concludes Friday at the Nissan Open to finalize their commitments.
If a player withdraws after that time, he will be replaced by the next available player from the Official World Golf Ranking. That will hold true until 7:00 p.m. (et) on Monday, February 23, when the match play brackets are finalized.