Stuart Appleby has withdrawn from the Emirates Australian Open after another back injury — different to the one that dogged him in 2011-2012 — flared up.
Appleby, the 2001 Australian Open champion, now confronts a period of rest and rehabilitation at the end of a season in which he finished strongly.
The 43-year-old Victorian played a handful of holes in the pro-am today but could not continue, and Bann said Appleby had no option but to pull out.
"He had a lot of nerve pain in the lower left side,'' said Appleby's coach, Steve Bann.
"It's a completely different injury to the early issue. He's never had this pain before.''
Appleby is likely to have an MRI scan next week to check the injury. He has been told it is highly likely that the injury will improve with rest.
"Look, he can hit the ball okay but only at three-quarter pace,'' said Bann. "So what's the point? He can't be competitive playing like that. It's disappointing for him, because he was looking forward to playing the tournaments at home.''