Haikou: Thomas Bjorn's chance to end his best season with a first World Cup of golf success has been dashed by injury.

The 40-year-old Dane, who has competed in four previous World Cup encounters, has told officials the recurrence of an old neck injury has forced him out of this week's $7.5-million event in China.

"I am really disappointed to have missed out on the chance to play for my country at Mission Hills," Bjorn said in a statement released by organisers.

"I always really enjoy playing in China, too, but the injury meant it was just not possible this year unfortunately."Bjorn has won three times this season with success in the Qatar Masters and back-to-back wins in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in Scotland and the European Masters in Switzerland.

He is hoping to be fit to take his place in next week's Sun City Challenge in South Africa.

Bjorn has been replaced in the Denmark team for the Haikou event, which starts on Thursday, by 21-year-old tour rookie Thorbjorn Olesen who was runner-up this year in the Italian Open and French Open.

Olesen will join Anders Hansen who will return to competition after withdrawing from last week's Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia.