Jason Day has withdrawn from the Presidents Cup because of a back injury. International team captain Ernie Els replaced him with Byeong Hun An of South Korea two weeks before play begins.
Day, a former No. 1 who has battled back problems in his career, says he was practicing in California when the injury occurred.
“I’m quite disappointed I won’t be coming home to play in either the Australian Open in Sydney or the Presidents Cup the following week in Melbourne,” Day said via a statement.
“I was quite looking forward to both events. I had been prepping all week in Palm Springs when I was injured. Frustratingly, I’ve been through back problems before and my medical team decided it best to shut down all practice and play.
“Therefore, I wanted to inform Golf Australia as well as provide Ernie as much time as possible to best prepare our International Team for Royal Melbourne. I look forward to playing at home in the near future. My best to all the competitors in Sydney and my teammates in Melbourne.”
Day had been selected by Els as one of his at-large picks despite being winless since early 2018. The 32-year-old managed just one top-10 finish after the Masters last season.
“We were eager to have Jason as part of the team at Royal Melbourne and his experience will be missed,” Els said in a statement. “The good news is that there were a number of strong and qualified players available to choose from when I made my captain’s selections. To have someone as steady and talented as Ben An puts us in a great position to succeed. Ben played extremely well this fall and throughout the year and he will fit in nicely on this team.”
Els previously had used one of his four captain’s picks on Day, who failed to win this year. An gives the International team two South Koreans for the Dec. 12-15 matches at Royal Melbourne.
An gives the International team a record-tying seven rookies as it tries to beat the U.S. for the first time since 1998. The Americans are captained by Tiger Woods.
“I’m sorry to hear that Jason has been forced to withdraw from the International Team and I wish him a speedy recovery. It was a huge surprise to receive a call from Ernie who told me that I was in the team,” An said.
“It has been a goal of mine all season to be on the International Team and I am honored to play in my first Presidents Cup. I’m looking forward to joining Ernie and the rest of the team in Melbourne and, more importantly, contribute to the International Team’s goal to win the Cup.”