• Claims European Tour should've done more to keep him
• The South African is playing in his first Irish Open for 17 years
ERNIE ELS | RORY MCILROY
Ernie Els has claimed that world No.1 Rory McIlroy shouldn’t have been allowed to leave for the USA and should’ve been used by the European Tour as ‘the Seve’.
The 45-year-old is competing in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open this week – hosted by the Rory Foundation – and revealed that star players getting behind tournaments, such as Ian Poulter also being key to the return of the British Masters, is great for raising the profile of the tour.
And the four-time major winner went even further, saying that the European Tour should’ve done more to keep McIlroy from heading over to the PGA Tour, likening the 26-year-old to Seve Ballesteros.
"I would’ve kept him here and made him the Seve" - Ernie Els
“If I was head of the tour, I would’ve made some plan to keep Rory McIlroy in Europe,” said Ernie Els. “I would not have let him go to the US and would’ve kept him here and made him the Seve.
“I think he could be like a Seve because he’s so exciting to watch, he’s a pretty happy kid, he does good things off the course and he’s got his stuff together.
“To have a person like that on the European Tour for most of his career is something I would’ve absolutely made happen. I don’t care how much it would’ve cost, I would’ve made it happen. But it is what it is.”
Els’ appearance at Royal County Down is his first at an Irish Open for 17 years, and he admitted it was great to be back in the country, but not just for the golf!
“I love the people and think we have a lot in common, you guys and us South Africans,” said Els. “Obviously Guinness comes to mind, kind of top of the list, but now I’m getting a little on, I can’t handle the Guinness so well any more!”
Ernie Els on Rory :: Your thoughts
Should more have been done to keep Rory playing primarily on the European Tour? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.