Els withdraws from KLM Open due to Hurricane Irma
Ernie Els has withdrawn from the KLM Open in order to remain in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Four-time major winner Els resides in the United States and opened a school for children with autism in the south of the Florida that had to be evacuated as the weather deteriorated.
The South African was scheduled to play in Spijk, the Netherlands, from Thursday, but has pulled out of the competition to remain with family and friends.
"It is with great regret that I've had to make the decision to withdraw from this week's KLM Open", said Els in a statement.
"I was really looking forward to teeing it up in this historic tournament for the first time in quite a while, but sometimes Mother Nature has other plans.
"As you can imagine, it's a worrying time and my primary concern right now and over the coming few days is to support my family and also our friends and our employees at Els for Autism as we come to terms with the aftermath of this devastating storm.
"It's going to be a tough time and we all have to pull together."
KLM Open tournament director Daan Slooter added: "It is a real disappointment that Ernie Els cannot take part this year. We fully understand his choice and we hope the damage as a result of the hurricane will be limited and that everyone is safe."