News & Opinion

Johnson hurts back, leaving Masters status in doubt

AUGUSTA, Ga. – On the eve of the Masters, Dustin Johnson injured his back and was questionable for today’s first round, according to The Associated Press.

Johnson hurt his lower back falling down stairs at his rental home in Augusta, AP golf writer Doug Ferguson reported, citing Johnson’s agent.

In a statement, David Winkle of Hambric Sports said Johnson sustained a “serious fall” and was “resting, although quite uncomfortably.” Johnson was prescribed anti-inflammatory medication, ice treatment and rest Wednesday night, “with the hope of being able to play tomorrow,” Hambric said.

Johnson cancelled his scheduled appearance at the Golf Writers Association of America’s annual dinner on Wednesday night, when he was to have been honored as male player of the year.

Johnson isn’t scheduled to tee off until 2:03 p.m. today, in the final pairing, with Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker. If Johnson does not play, he would not be replaced in the field. The Masters, administered by Augusta National Golf Club, does not maintain a list of alternates, unlike a PGA Tour-run event.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, which had listed Johnson as the 11-2 betting favorite to win his first green jacket, reacted to the news by dropping his odds to 7-1, with Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.

Johnson, 32, the reigning U.S. Open champion, had won three consecutive tournaments and is the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking.