Should Fred Couples be concerned about Hunter Mahan’s WD?

Jonathan Wall

United States Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples is usually one of the coolest customers in golf, but with less than a week to go before the big event at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, he's most likely sweating bullets over the health of two members of his team.

With Steve Stricker's health still up in the air, things took a turn for the worse on Friday morning when Hunter Mahan withdrew from the Australian Open, citing soreness behind his right shoulder.

"It wasn't great for nine holes, then they came out and popped my back and it was a little better," Mahan told the Associated Press. "It's just the rotation. It's fired up to the point that I can't get through the ball."

If you're Fred Couples, this is exactly what you didn't want to hear. Despite the pain, Mahan said he should be ready to go for next week's Presidents Cup. However, that didn't stop Mahan leaving some doubt by saying, "If Fred has to call, then ... ."

The "call" he's referencing would be to Keegan Bradley, who just missed out on making the team and didn't make the trip down to Australia for the event prior to the Presidents Cup. He made it clear in the weeks leading up to the event that he had no interest in coming down to play the role of the emergency replacement.

But could that change? It's pure conjecture at this point, but if Mahan can't go, you'd have to think Keegan would be getting a call from Captain Couples in the coming days. John Cook could always fill in as an emergency replacement, but if either guy is having issues, the obvious choice to take the last spot on the team would be the current PGA champion.

It's still too early to tell one way or the other if Mahan's going to be ready, but the way things are going at the moment, Keegan Bradley may want to consider packing an emergency suitcase.