AUGUSTA – (Wire Service Report) – World No. 1 golfer Dustin Johnson withdrew from the Masters at the first tee on Thursday after testing his injured back on the practice tee and apparently deciding he couldn’t make it through the round. Johnson, who is the reigning U.S. Open champion, was scheduled to tee off at 2:03 p.m. ET. He arrived at the hole and informed officials that he was withdrawing from the tournament.
Johnson met with the media immediately afterward and explained that he had taken a fall off three steps in a rental home, noting he was wearing only sox and not shoes at the time of the fall.
Johnson began hitting shots off the practice tee around an hour before his starting time. He began by softly hitting irons to see how the back felt before taking a more aggressive approach.
Johnson’s trainer earlier told Golf Digest that he was making progress, one day removed from injuring his lower back while falling down stairs.
“We got him to the point where he got mobility,” Joey Diovisalvi told Golf Digest on Thursday morning. “He was up and moving around and definitely going in the right direction. He was very much in an under-control point going to bed last night.
“He was walking around, a lot more mobility, took a couple of practice swings slowly without a club.