• PGA Tour

Ernie Els pulls out of Tampa Bay Championship

ESPN staff
March 13, 2013
Ernie Els has a hip injury © PA Photos

Ernie Els will not play at this week's Tampa Bay Championship due to a hip problem.

Els, the reigning Open champion, was suffering with the issue at last week's WGC-Cadillac Championship. He still managed a tie for 28th place but was far from comfortable.

A veteran of the PGA Tour, Els is focusing all his efforts on preparation for The Masters, which starts on April 11. He plans a walk around Augusta National this week but will be relieving his body of a week's strain.

"The week didn't go too great, mainly because my right hip was causing me problems again," Els said. "It has been bugging me for a while now and then it really went into spasm on Thursday morning.

"I was on the first tee thinking, 'Maybe I shouldn't be starting this round.' I tried to play through it, but it's not feeling right. I've got to get this sorted.

"I'll have to pretty much rest-up for most of this week. Doctor orders, as they say."

Bubba Watson will enter the 2013 Masters as defending champion, having won a play-off last year.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.