Shortly after winning the British Open on Sunday, Els said in his victory speech that he planned to visit his family in London.
"I'm going to try and come and see you this evening. I'm supposed to go to Canada but I think I'm going to blow that thing off," Els said to laughter.
The South African quickly added he would try to get to Canada on Tuesday. His later confirmed he still planned to compete at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
Els' comment forced Canadian Open staff into a scramble to confirm he was just kidding.
Dan Pino, a spokesman for the tournament, said it was hard watching the speech to know if Els was serious or not.
"Oh yeah. You're watching like everyone else," said Pino. "There's so much stuff happening for a champion. Who knows what's on their mind, right?"
The US$5.2 million Canadian Open starts Thursday and finishes Sunday.