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Masters 2017: Dustin Johnson withdraws after injuring his back

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DJ hurt his back in a freak accident on the eve of the Masters and had to pull out of this week’s tournament.

PGA: The Masters - First Round Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Johnson withdrew from the Masters on Thursday after falling on some stairs and injuring his back at his Augusta rental home on Wednesday afternoon and then trying to loosen up on the practice range. Johnson began hitting several easy iron shots on the range for about 10 minutes an hour or so before his scheduled 2:03 p.m. ET tee time on Thursday before retreating to the therapy area for more treatment.

“We’ll see,” DJ responded to a query about how he was doing as he and swing coach Butch Harmon left the range, according to Golf Channel. They returned after a brief respite and Johnson looked more comfortable swinging a variety of clubs until he began grimacing and rubbing his lower back.

When he needed his caddie to tee up his golf ball on the range, things did not look good, and, sure enough, DJ quit his attempt to play before he teed off on the first tee.

“It sucks. I want to play,” Johnson said after his withdrawal. “I’m playing probably the best golf of my career and this is one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I look forward to it every year.

“To have a freak accident happen yesterday afternoon ... it sucks, it really does,” Johnson added. “It sucks really bad.”

The top-ranked player in the game, Johnson was on a serious roll entering this week’s first major on the men’s schedule. The reigning U.S. Open champion won the last three events he started and finished among the top six in six of his last seven tournaments.

If you need evidence that an injury to a golfer’s back is a bad thing, just ask Tiger Woods, whose balky back forced him to miss his second straight Masters.

Johnson was slated to tee off in the final threesome Thursday at 2:03 p.m. ET with two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson and 2016 PGA champion Jimmy Walker. The oddsmakers’ heavy favorite to win the tourney before the accident, Johnson canceled his scheduled Wednesday night appearance to receive the Player of the Year award from the Golf Writers Association of America.