AUGUSTA, Ga. — Dustin Johnson, after saying Thursday he was “going to give it a try” after suffering a back injury during a fall at his rental home on Wednesday, walked off the first tee and withdrew from the Masters just prior to his first-round tee time.
Johnson, 32, the No. 1-ranked player in the world and the pre-tournament favorite after winning his previous three starts on the PGA Tour, slipped on wooden stairs and fell on his back, according to his agent, David Winkle.
Johnson arrived at Augusta National on Thursday with the intention of playing. He visited physical trainers, warmed up on the driving range and hit a few putts. After much discussion following his warm-up shots, he told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi that he will “give it a try” and headed to the first tee.
He then headed to the clubhouse just as his group was scheduled to tee off.
Johnson joins Tiger Woods (2014) as the only other No. 1-ranked player in the world to not play the Masters. He has won each of his past three starts on the PGA Tour.
The golfer arrived at Augusta National on Thursday morning and headed to the physical therapy trailer around 12:30 p.m.
After arriving at the first tee, Johnson turned around and headed back to the clubhouse.
Johnson was scheduled to play in the day’s final group with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker. Johnson, who won the U.S. Open last June, has six victories since last year’s Masters, where he tied for fourth.
“He landed very hard on his lower back and is now resting, although quite uncomfortable,” Winkle said Wednesday. He said Johnson was advised to remain immobile and begin taking inflammatory medication and icing the injury in hopes of being ready for the first round.
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