Citing a lingering back injury, Rickie Fowler announced Thursday that he would not be participating in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia later this month.
'I am sorry to confirm, but I will not be competing in the KOLON Korea Open next week, nor the CIMB Classic the following week in Malaysia as planned,' Fowler said in a statement. 'Unfortunately, while not serious, I have battled a back issue for the past few months, and my doctors have instructed me that international travel and any tournament play is not in my best interest at this time.'
The 23-year-old Fowler recorded his first career PGA Tour win earlier this season at the Wells Fargo Championship and advanced to last month's Tour Championship, finishing the season 28th on the FedEx Cup points list.
Replacing Fowler in the field will be Charlie Wi, who has won twice previously in Malaysia (1997 Kuala Lumpur Open, 2006 Maybank Malaysian Open). Wi's 2012 season included three top-5 finishes, highlighted by his runner-up finish to Phil Mickelson at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Co-sanctioned by the PGA and Asian Tours, the CIMB Classic will feature 48 players competing for a total prize purse of $6.1 million. The field will include 30 players from the PGA Tour, the top 10 available players from the Asian Tour's Order of Merit, and eight sponsor exemptions. Last year, Bo Van Pelt fired a final-round 64 to win by six shots over Jeff Overton.