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Els Slams European Tour on New Requirement


ie Els came out with some scathing criticisms of the European Tour over its new requirement that members must play two of three tournaments in the "Race to Dubai" final series to be eligible for its season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

Golf's "Big Easy" was anything but as he slammed the Tour's new qualifying mandate for the circuit's flagship event, which starts November 14.

In order to be eligible for the $8 million season-ending tournament in the Middle East, players must enter two of the three tournaments (the BMW Masters, the WGC-HSBC Champions and this week's Turkish Airlines Open) preceding it.

In protest, Els pulled out of the Turkish Airlines Open, thus making him ineligible for Dubai even though he's among the top-60 qualifiers.

"I don't think they really care," Els told Reuters about the European Tour's move. "Why would they make a decision like that and expect guys to play? It's farcical. In my view it's an absolute joke.

"All the good things I've done for this tour and a lot of other guys have done for this tour. They've given me honorary membership and all that, but the way they're going is not the right direction."

For nearly two decades Els has been the non-European face of the European Tour, where he's won 28 times over the years.

"I can see [the tour's point of view], but it's crazy," Els added. "I've been playing both tours since 1994 and it's been no problem, but for some reason now the European Tour expects us to play a full schedule."

The European Tour has been introducing increasingly stringent regulations to prevent players based in the U.S. from maintaining their cards on both sides of the Atlantic.

"We used to play seven events and you could keep your card in Europe. Now you have to play more than in America. [That is] the direction they're going in. I just think it's the wrong one."

Because of the new requirement, Els may be now forced to choose between the PGA and European tours. "I'm going to have to look at my schedule. I was there for the growth of this (European) tour, 22 years, and now they've making it almost impossible for me to remain playing the tour.

"You could always play both tours," added the four-time major champion, a World Golf Hall of Fame member and 19-time winner on the PGA Tour.

"You've had Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy win both money lists (in 2011 and 2012, respectively). Now we have to make a decision where we never used to do that. Guys are not going to keep doing that. We've got families and schedules to keep."