Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from the 2017 Masters after suffering a fall and injuring his back on Wednesday night.
Johnson tested his back with a limited range session ahead of his 2:03 p.m. tee time Thursday and exhibited obvious signs of discomfort. He spoke to tournament officials on the range at about 1:45 p.m. and shortly after told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi he was “gonna try [and play].”
Johnson even made it to the first tee, but suddenly reversed course and walked back to the clubhouse. His WD was announced shortly after.
Johnson spoke to reporters after withdrawing and said that he had slipped down the stairs in his rental house while wearing socks. The staircase had only three steps but he landed on his left elbow and lower back, injuring both.
He said he made “80% swings” while warming up Thursday afternoon. His backswings, he said, were pain-free but he felt discomfort at impact and in his through-swings.
“I just can’t swing,” he said. “There’s no chance I can compete.”
Johnson had come into this week as the world’s hottest player and a heavy favorite to win. He has won his last three tournament starts before pulling out of last week’s Shell Houston Open to rest up for the Masters. After Johnson made the decision to withdraw on Thursday afternoon, his disappointment was evident.
“It sucks really bad,” he said. “I want to play.”
The injury does not sound serious. Johnson said he believes he’ll feel better in just a couple of days.