Mahan withdraws at Aussie Open with sore shoulder

Hunter Mahan withdrew Friday morning from the Australian Open

because of soreness behind his right shoulder, raising questions

about whether he can play next week in the Presidents Cup.

Mahan said he fully expects to be play at Royal Melbourne, and

believes he will be ready to go after a few days of rest.

The pain is nothing new, although he said typically it has been

behind the left shoulder. He started feeling pain Wednesday night,

and it gradually improved during his opening round at The Lakes

when he shot 73 while playing with John Daly and Craig Parry.

”It wasn’t great for nine holes, then they came out and popped

my back and it was a little better,” Mahan said. ”It’s just the

rotation. It’s fired up to the point that I can’t get through the


Mahan said he has kept U.S. captain Fred Couples apprised –

Couples also is playing the Australian Open. And while Mahan

expects to be ready for the Presidents Cup, he left some doubt by

saying, ”If Fred has to call, then … .”

That was reference to PGA champion Keegan Bradley, who Couples

has said would be the replacement if any of his players were


Mahan leaves the U.S. team with two players whose health is in

question. Steve Stricker has not played since Sept. 25 at the Tour

Championship because of a neck injury that has weakened his left


Stricker chose not to play at Disney as his tune-up for the

Presidents Cup, instead going to Arizona this week to practice. He

has said he expects to play, and likely will be the partner again

for Tiger Woods. They went 4-0 as a team last year.

Bradley just returned home to Florida after two weeks in


Mahan tried to play Friday morning. He said the pain tends to go

away once he warms up, but that wasn’t the case. Physical

therapists worked on his shoulder, and his shirt was untucked on

the range as he debated playing. Ultimately, he decided it was

better to rest.

”It came on Wednesday night, and Thursday it wasn’t great,”

Mahan said. ”Today was the worst it has been. The more I keep

swinging, the worse it gets. But I don’t see this being a long-term

problem for next week.”