Presidents Cup captain Ernie Els has chosen Byeong Hun An to replace an injured Jason Day on the International Team, the Presidents Cup announced Friday.
Day, who has a 5-11-4 Presidents Cup record, withdrew from the Dec. 9-15 event at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club due to a back injury. The event would have been the Australian’s fifth Presidents Cup appearance.
In a statement released Friday, Day said he hopes to return to Australia to play soon, but in the meantime, wishes all Presidents Cup competitors luck.
Day also withdrew from the Australian Open, Dec. 5-8.
“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. “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.”
Day told Golfweek earlier in November he hasn’t had a trainer for most of the past year, which has made it difficult to practice when his back acts up. Last season, Day’s back forced him to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational after the first round in March and also forced him to receive treatment on the course during the second round of the Masters.
“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 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.”
The 28-year-old An competed in 22 PGA Tour events last season and had three top 10 finishes with his best coming from a third-place finish at Wyndham Championship. An also earned $1,990,033 in 2019.
With the addition of An, who will compete in his first Presidents Cup, the International Team will feature two Korean players. An joins Sungjae Im, the 2019 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
“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 in a statement. “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.”