Dustin Johnson withdraws from Masters 2017 after injuring his back in fall
'It was an unbelievably difficult decision'
World number one Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from the Masters after injuring his back in a fall on Wednesday.
Johnson looked set to tee off shortly after 2pm local time despite the back injury he suffered in a "serious fall" in his rented house on Wednesday afternoon.
However, the US Open champion then left the first tee and headed into the clubhouse, leaving Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker to tee off in the final group.
Johnson had earlier gone through a short initial warm-up on the range before receiving treatment, the 32-year-old then returning to the range and appearing more at ease as he hit shots under the watchful eye of coach Butch Harmon.
The US Open champion slipped on a small set of stairs as he went to move his car and landed heavily on his back and left elbow.
He was able to complete a warm-up on the range on Thursday under the watchful eye of coach Butch Harmon and looked set to compete, only to suddenly leave the first tee and head back into the clubhouse.
"It sucks," said Johnson, who also missed the 2012 Masters after reportedly injuring his back lifting a jet-ski. "My heart is in it and wants to play. I'm playing the best golf of my life and to have a freak accident happen yesterday afternoon, it sucks really bad.
"I have been worked on all morning and obviously I can take some swings, but I can't swing full, I can't make my normal swing and I didn't think there was any chance I could compete.
"I could swing maybe 70 per cent and it still hurt. The backswing was fine, it was at impact and through impact where it would catch. My left elbow is swollen and bruised, but my back took the brunt of it.
"This is an event I look forward to every year and the worst part is I feel like in two days I'm going to be fine. By Saturday or Sunday I'm going to be fine and playing golf again.
"It was an unbelievably difficult decision (to withdraw)."
Speaking about the accident, Johnson added: "Tatum (his son) was on the way home from day care. And it was pouring down rain, so I was going to go move the car, I was just wearing my socks.
"So I just slipped as I was going down the stairs. It actually would have been better if it had been the first set of stairs, because I probably would have slid right down it, but it was only three, so I landed right on the bottom."
Johnson won the Genesis Open in February to reach World No.1 and then added victories in the WGC-Mexico Championship and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.