The Hague - Ernie Els has pulled out of the KLM Open golf
tournament so he can stay with family and friends in Florida to deal with the
fallout from Hurricane Irma.
Els said in a statement on Monday that his "first
concern at the moment and the coming days is to support my family and our
friends and staff at Els for Autism. We must be ready for the consequences of
this terrible storm."
Tournament organisers say the school that Els and his wife
Liezl built for autistic children in southern Florida was forced to close as
Irma bore down on the state over the weekend.
Daan Slooter, director of the tournament that starts
Thursday at The Dutch course in Spijk, says he understands Els' choice,
"and we hope ... that the hurricane damage is not too bad and that
everybody is safe."