Ernie Els withdraws from KLM Open to aid in Irma aftermath

By The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 12, 2017 at 11:46 AM
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Ernie Els has withdrawn from the European Tour's KLM Open golf tournament so he can help family and friends in Florida deal with the effects of Hurricane Irma.

"It's an uncertain time and my first care right now and the next few days is to support my family as well as our friends and associates at Els for Autism," Els said, per Golf Digest. "We must be ready for the consequences of this terrible storm. It's going to be a hard time and we have to put our shoulders together."

Tournament organizers said the school that Els and his wife Liezl built for autistic children in Jupiter, Fla. was forced to close as Hurricane Irma approached. Els was bestowed the 2017 Heisman Humanitarian Award in August for his work with the foundation.

"It is extremely regrettable that Ernie Els can not be with (us) this year," tournament director Daan Slooter said of the KLM Open in Spijk, Netherlands. "However, we all understand his choice and hope with him that the damage after the hurricane is not too bad and that everyone is safe."

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