First, it was the US Team that had to find a replacement, now the International team Captain Ernie Els has announced Korean Byeong Hun An will replace Jason Day for the Presidents Cup after he was forced to withdraw from the 2019 competition due to a back injury.
With An’s inclusion, the International Team will now feature two Korean players as 2019 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, Sungjae Im is also on the team as one of Els’ picks.
Just last week US Captain Tiger Woods had to replace World Number One Brooks Koepka with Rickie Fowler after Koepka pulled out with a knee injury.
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 finished 15th on the International Team standings to miss out on 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 @ Nine Bridges and ZOZO Championship. He also finished T14 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
An said he was sorry to hear that Day had been forced to withdraw from the International Team and wished 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.”
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Ernie Els and many of the International team will this week play a warm-up event in Sydney at the Australian Open and Els hopes Day gets the recovery he needs.
“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 fall and throughout the year and he will fit in nicely on this team.”
In a statement, Jason Day said he was quite disappointed to be missing both the Australian Open and the Presidents Cup.
“I was quite looking forward to both events. I had been prepping all week in Palm Springs when I was injured,” Day said in his statement.
“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.”
The Presidents Cup will return to Melbourne, Australia and The Royal Melbourne Golf Club for the third time, December 9-15, 2019.