29 Nov 2019 | Professional golf | Men's Australian Open |

Injury forces Day out of Australian events

by Mark Hayes

Jason Day has been hampered by a back injury for much of 2019.
Jason Day has been hampered by a back injury for much of 2019.

A back injury has forced Jason Day out of both the Australian Open and Presidents Cup.

Day informed Golf Australia and International team captain Ernie Els tonight that he would not make the trip home after a season-long back injury flared again during practice in California.

“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,” the Ohio-based Queenslander said.

“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 recently confirmed he’d hired a “golf trainer” and a “physio trainer” to his team to help maintain his health after a series of predominantly back ailments in the past couple of seasons.

"I feel like I've got a good team back together," the Australian said during the recent Mayakoba Classic in Mexico. "I think the biggest thing for me is to be healthy. Golf is tough enough as it is.”

Els announced that Korean Byeong Hun An, known to most in the golfing world as “Ben”, will join the International team for the Presidents Cup.

“We wish Jason well and hope his back recovers quickly. We were eager to have Jason as part of the team at Royal Melbourne and his experience will be missed,” Els said.

“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 (northern autumn) and throughout the year and he will fit in nicely on this team.”

During the 2018-19 PGA Tour season, An enjoyed three top-10s and eight top-25 finishes including a third-place result at the Wyndham Championship in August. He was twice runner-up in North America in 2018 and is a former winner of the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship.

He finished 15th on the International team standings to miss out automatic selection for the Presidents Cup, but put together a strong case for a captain’s pick by starting the 2019-20 PGA TOUR season on a strong note. This strong start included top-10s at the Sanderson Farms Championship (3rd), the CJ Cup in Korea and the Zozo Championship in Japan (T8). He also finished T14 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.

“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 honoured 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.”

The Australian Open starts at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney on Thursday, with the Presidents Cup to be played at Royal Melbourne the following week.

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