Rickie Fowler was added to the United States team by Captain Tiger Woods on Wednesday after top-ranked Brooks Koepka was forced to withdraw from the matches next month at Royal Melbourne because of a knee injury.
The 30-year-old Fowler, who grew up in Murrieta in Southern California, will be making his third appearance in the event and has an 4-3-1 overall record, including 1-1 in singles, and was 3-0-1 as the Americans retained the Cup with a 19-11 victory two years ago at Liberty National Golf Club www.libertynationalgc.com in Jersey City, N.J.
Fowler (pictured) defeated Emiliano Grillo of Argentina in singles, 6 and 4.
“When I heard Brooks wasn’t going to be ready to play, I was bummed for him and the team,” said Fowler, who recently was married and has recovered from a bacterial infection he contracted on his honeymoon. “Then I got a call from both Brooks and Tiger. I was humbled and excited to be given the chance. These team events have been some of the most memorable weeks of my career.
“To be picked by Tiger to compete with him and the rest of the team is very special. It is impossible to replace the world’s No. 1, 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 Presidents Cup.”
Koepka, who has won four major titles in the last three years while rising from to the No. 1 ranking in the world, led the U.S. point standings and would have been playing in the event for the second time after recording a 2-2 record in 2017, including a 3-2 loss to Adam Scott of Australia.
However, Koepka aggravated a left knee injury when he slipped on wet concrete while playing in the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges last month.
“Today, I am announcing my withdrawal from the U.S. Presidents Cup Team because of my knee injury,” Koepka said in a statement on Wednesday. “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 honor to be part of the 2019 team and I regret not being able to compete.
“Since my injury in Korea, I have been in constant contact with Tiger and assured him that I was making every effort to be 100 percent in time for the Presidents Cup in Australia. However, I need more time to heal. I’m sorry I won’t be able to represent the Red, White and Blue this time around and I wish my teammates nothing but the best as they work to retain the Presidents Cup for the USA.”
Said Woods: “Brooks and I talked, and he’s disappointed that he won’t be able to compete. 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.
“ … 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. I know he’s going to do a great job for us. We’re all excited about this year’s event. The course is outstanding, the fans will be loud and we’re playing against great competitors. We’re ready to go.”
The U.S. will try to improve on its 10-1-1 record in the Presidents Cup when the event is played for the third time at Royal Melbourne Golf Club www.royalmelbourne.com.au on Dec. 12-15.
For complete information about the Presidents Cup, visit https://www.presidentscup.com