AUGUSTA, Ga. -- After injuring his back on Wednesday afternoon at his rental home, world No. 1 and event favorite Dustin Johnson withdrew from the 2017 Masters right before his 2:03 p.m. ET tee time on Thursday.
Johnson went through a halfhearted warm-up session on the range that did not include chipping or putting, got some treatment and tried to tee off at No. 1, but right before he was supposed to hit, he walked back toward the clubhouse with his head down.
Incredibly, this is just the second time in the last 31 years a No. 1-ranked golfer has not played at Augusta National. The Official World Golf Rankings started in 1986.
Johnson had won three straight PGA Tour events coming into this major championship.
He was reportedly en route to move his car at his Augusta rental home when he slipped and fell. He said he fell on a set of three steps and bruised his elbow as well.
“I slipped going down the stairs and landed on my lower back,” Johnson said. “It’s just really tight. I was making some swings on the range and could go max about 80 percent. It’s just so tight, I couldn’t get through it. Backswing was fine, but every time down right at impact it would catch.
“I don’t feel like there’s any chance of me competing. It hurts. I was doing everything I could to try and play. I was up pretty much all night trying to get it ready for today. I’ve been worked on all morning. I can make some swings. I can’t swing full. I can’t make my normal swing. I don’t think there’s any chance I’ll be able to compete.”
Johnson had finished in the top 10 at the Masters in each of the last two years. He was looking to become the second golfer since the 1950s to win four PGA Tour events in a row (Tiger Woods is the other). Johnson was the 5-1 favorite at the beginning of the week.
“It sucks. I want to play. I’m playing probably probably the best golf of my career. This is one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I look forward to it every year. To have a freak accident happen ... it sucks. It really does. It sucks really bad.”
Johnson said he expects to be fine in two days. He said if it happened on Monday he would have been fine.
“I want to play,” Johnson said. “I just can’t swing.”
He will take three weeks off before playing again.
Want to treat your buddies to a round of golf? Enter now to win a dream day at your favorite course care of CBS Sports and GolfBook!