World No. 1 golfer Dustin Johnson injured his back in a fall on some stair steps at his Augusta rental home Wednesday afternoon and his availability for the 81st Masters that begins Thursday morning is in question.
Johnson, 32 and winner of his past three PGA Tour starts, is a 5-1 favorite. He is scheduled to play in the day's final group with a tee time of 2:03 p.m. He is in a group with Bubba Watson, a two-time Masters winner, and PGA champion Jimmy Walker. Johnson is the reigning U.S. Open champion, winning his first major last June, one of three significant victories on the Tour last season when he was named the player of the year.
"At roughly 3 p.m. today, Dustin took a serious fall on a staircase in his Augusta rental home," the statement from his agent David Winkle read, as reported by Golf Digest. "He landed very hard on his lower back and is now resting, although quite uncomfortably. He has been advised to remain immobile and begin a regimen of anti-inflammatory medication and icing, with the hope of being able to play tomorrow."
"Masters favorite Dustin Johnson injures lower back after taking fall on stairs this afternoon. Manager says DJ 'hopes' to play tomorrow. Wow"
Johnson has won 15 Tour events in his career and he has finished tied for sixth and tied for fourth in his past two Masters appearances. He has won the Genesis Open in Los Angeles, the World Golf Championship in Mexico and the World Golf Championship Dell Match Play in the past several weeks. That makes him the first player in more than 40 years to arrive at Augusta National Golf Club having won his three previous starts.
An hour after the news broke,Johnson was reduced to 7-1 along with Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
The world's No. 1 player entering Augusta has not won the Masters since Tiger Woods did so in 2002.