(Reuters) – World number one Brooks Koepka pulled out of the U.S. Presidents Cup team due to a knee injury on Wednesday and was replaced with Rickie Fowler by playing captain Tiger Woods.
“Today, I am announcing my withdrawal from the U.S. Presidents Cup team because of my knee injury,” Koepka said in a statement on the Presidents Cup website. “I notified captain Tiger Woods that despite constant medical care and rehab, I am not able to play golf at this time.
“I consider it to be a high honour to be part of the 2019 team and I regret not being able to compete.”
Koepka has played a limited amount of golf since the Tour Championships and not at all since the CJ Cup in South Korea in late October.
He had been in a race for fitness for the Dec. 9-15 Presidents Cup, which will pit the U.S. against an International Team at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
“Brooks and I talked, and he’s disappointed that he won’t be able to compete,” said Woods. “I told him to get well soon and that we’re sorry he won’t be with us in Australia.
“He would clearly be an asset both on the course and in the team room.”
While Fowler was not one of Woods’s original captain’s picks he brings plenty of experience to what will be his third Presidents Cup. He has a record of 4-3-1 in his two previous appearances.
“I spoke to Rickie and he has agreed to join the U.S. Team,” Woods said. “Rickie has played on a couple Presidents Cup teams, was someone seriously considered for a pick and is well respected and liked by his team mates.
“I know he’s going to do a great job for us.
“We’re ready to go.”
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)