World Cup: Injured Thomas Bjorn Opts Out of China

Espen Uldal@espenuldalContributor IIINovember 19, 2011

Anders Hansen takes on the world with rookie Thorbjorn Olesen.
Anders Hansen takes on the world with rookie Thorbjorn Olesen.Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen will replace the injured Thomas Bjorn in the Omega World Cup and play with Anders Hansen at Mission Hills in China in three weeks.

Once again, Bjorn, who has won three times on the European Tour this season, is struggling with an old neck injury.

Hansen and Bjorn both had to opt out of this week's Phoenix Open in Japan. However, former PGA Tour player Hansen will be ready for the team event.

Hansen, who is number six on the European Tour money list, finished third at both the U.S. PGA Championship and the WGC-Cadillac Championship and came in second in both the Dubai Desert Classic and the Wales Open.

The strong duo of Hansen and Bjorn, numbers 34 and 32 in the world respectively, was predicted to have great chances of a victory in the World Cup.

But now Denmark's role will instead be that of the dangerous outsider.

Olesen, who is playing his first season on the European Tour, has had a year of great triumphs, with second-place finishes in the Alfred Dunhilll Championship, Italian Open and the Open de France.

The Dane also aspires to claim the honor of European Tour Rookie of the Year.

At No. 48 on the Race to Dubai money list, Olesen has also secured himself a spot in this year's Dubai World Championship that will be played two weeks after the World Cup.

Hansen predicted early on this season that Olesen would have a great future on the tour, and has even chosen the Danish debutant as his partner for the World Cup.

Brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari are the defending champions of the World Cup. Denmark's best result in the tournament was runners-up back in 2001 when Bjorn and Soren Hansen, along with New Zealand and USA, lost the title to South Africa.