LOS ANGELES • Brooks Koepka has not recovered in time from a knee injury for the Dec 12-15 Presidents Cup, with United States captain Tiger Woods promptly selecting Rickie Fowler for the vacant spot.
Koepka, who had stem cell treatment on his left knee after the Tour Championship season finale, was unable to defend his CJ Cup title last month after aggravating the injury when he slipped on a cart path.
The four-time Major winner, 29, said in his announcement on Wednesday night that he had been in constant contact with Woods since his injury, but now realised he needed more time to heal.
The 21st-ranked Fowler was undefeated in his second outing in the last edition in 2017, winning three matches and halving one, in the 19-11 victory of the biennial matchplay clash with the Internationals at Liberty National in New Jersey.
His initial omission had been "the toughest call" for Woods, so it was expected he would be the first name on the backup list.
The 43-year-old Woods, who won the Masters in April for his 15th Major, 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 teammates."
Former US captain Davis Love III also told the Golf Digest website that Woods had been "sitting on" Koepka's availability so it was "no surprise that he's on the ball".
Calling it "very special" to be picked, Fowler, 30, said on his Instagram page: "These team events have been some of the most memorable weeks of my career.
"It is impossible to replace Brooks, but I can assure my teammates and American golf fans that I will be prepared and ready to do my part to bring home the Cup."
The US will play the International team (minus Europe) captained by South Africa's Ernie Els at Royal Melbourne.