Jason Day's back has let him down and he will miss the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne next month. In his place comes a seventh debutant

As if Ernie Els’ task wasn’t tough enough to try and win the Presidents Cup he has now lost one of his star men in Jason Day. The Aussie, one of Els’ captain’s picks, has a back injury which won’t recover in time for the matches which get underway on December 12.

The news follows the withdrawal of Brooks Koepka from the American team, he was replaced by Rickie Fowler.

For the 32-year-old Day, who has played on the last five Presidents Cup teams, the injury setback is a double blow.

“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. 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.”

In his place comes Ben An, who will be making his debut, and he will double the Korean input with the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im, another of Els’ picks. An is the seventh rookie to be named following the inclusion of Abraham Ancer, Haotong Li, CT Pan, Cameron Smith, Im and Joaquin Niemann.

An, who is best known for being the youngest winner of the US Amateur at just 17 as well as winning at Wentworth in 2015, is 43rd on the world rankings and he will arrive at Royal Melbourne with some decent form behind him in the past few months.

“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. “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.”

An admitted that the possibility of a Presidents Cup debut hadn’t been on his radar.

“It was a huge surprise to receive a call from Ernie who told me that I was in the team. 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.”