AUGUSTA, Ga. — World No. 1 Dustin Johnson arrived at Augusta National Golf Club about 12:15 p.m. ET Thursday after a rough night.
He began hitting golf balls at 12:50 p.m.
At 2 p.m. he was walking slowly toward the first hole before the first round of the 81st Masters.
A minute later he was out of the tournament.
Johnson withdrew with a bad back after experiencing tightness and pain during an abbreviated and interrupted range session. After hitting a few short irons, he went to the physio trailer to receive treatment, returned to the practice area and hit more balls, then eventually headed to the first tee. But he never hit chip shots or any shots out of a bunker.
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Just before he was to tee off at 2:03 p.m. with Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker, he withdrew.
“It sucks. I want to play,” Johnson said. “I’m playing probably the best golf of my career and this is one of my favorite tournaments. To have a freak accident happen yesterday afternoon, it sucks. It really does. ...
“I want to play. The issue is I just can’t swing.”
The winner of his last three starts on the PGA Tour and the reigning U.S. Open champion and PGA Tour player of the year injured himself Wednesday falling on wooden stairs in his rental home. He was going outside to move a car when he slipped on wooden steps and landed on his lower back and both elbows.
He said he feels pain in his lower left back and his left elbow is swollen and bruised. He spent the night using ice and heat to treat his injuries.
“It’s just really tight,” Johnson said. “Obviously I was making some swings on the range, but max was 80%. … But every time down like right at impact it would catch. I just don’t feel like I have any chance of me competing. It hurts.
“I can make some swings. I can’t make my normal swing.”
Johnson said he will continue to rehab his back.
“It feels like in two days I’d be fine,” he said. “If it happened Monday I don’t think we’d have any issues but it happened Wednesday afternoon.”
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