Els looking forward to Korean Open

Updated: September 8, 2004, 9:45 AM ET
Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea -- Ernie Els certainly doesn't have to worry about his private plane collecting dust.

Ernie Els
Els

The South African star, No. 3 in the world rankings behind Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods, has nearly circled the world in the last few weeks, with his latest journey taking him from the Swiss Alps to South Korea.

"Personally, I like to play all over the world," Els said Wednesday. "I've known about this tournament in Korea all year and I'm really looking forward to it."

Coming off a seventh-place finish Sunday in the European Masters in Switzerland, Els is set to begin play Thursday in the Asian Tour's Korean Open -- his first event in South Korea in eight years.

"Golf is truly a global game now and there are a lot of very promising players emerging from countries you wouldn't have expected 10 years ago," Els said. "It's good for the game as a whole."

He will play alongside South Korean stars Kang Wook-soon and Kevin Na in the first two rounds on the Woo Jung Hills Country Club course in Cheonan.

The 20-year-old Na is the youngest player on the PGA Tour.

"I think it's a great story, him being only 20 years of age and playing on the PGA Tour," Els said. "He's a star of the future."

John Daly, the 2003 winner, withdrew earlier this week.

K.J. Choi, the only South Korean player to win on the PGA Tour, is skipping the tournament to defend his title in the European tour's German Masters.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press