Ernie Els is to miss the Nedbank Challenge
Ernie Els will be heading for South Africa in December, but only for leisure purposes and the opportunity to test new equipment ahead of next year's changes in golf balls and grooves.
"I have so many great memories of the Million Dollar and ones that will remain with me forever, but I am at a point in my life and career when I have to decide what's best for me," said Els, who will be 40 in one week. "It is with regret that I cannot commit to the Nedbank. I know I will miss a tournament that I have won three times and been close to on several others. The crowd has always been fantastic to me and I have always appreciated their support, but it's been a long and hectic year - one that I have put a lot of time and effort into, but haven't got much out of," added South Africa's three-time major champion.
"To be honest, I just feel like having a bit of a break and enjoying South Africa like I want to rather than everything being golf related. I want to spend time with my family and friends, go to the beach and have a holiday instead of working all the time.
"The Sun City tournament will go on because nobody is bigger than the game itself. They have treated me well over the years and will continue to do so to others. I'm sure it will be a fantastic event and I wish them well."
But Els has not ruled out playing in South Africa completely this summer with the likelihood that he tees up in the Dunhill at Leopard Creek. "We have friends and a home there in surroundings that we are always comfortable in," he said. "It will give me the opportunity to work on the new ball and grooves in tournament play. That's where I'm looking at the moment."
Els is currently in San Francisco where he is part of Greg Norman's President's Cup team facing USA.