AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – Dustin Johnson was walking down a three-step staircase to move a car in anticipation of his son coming home from day care Wednesday afternoon when his Masters effectively ended.
Wearing socks but no shoes, Johnson said he slipped and fell hard on his left elbow and left lower back. The injuries were significant enough that Johnson – the world’s top-ranked golfer and winner of his last three starts – withdrew from The Masters moments before his 2:03 p.m. tee time Thursday.
Johnson warmed up on the range, taking a break at one point during his practice session, and he was on the practice green just before going to the first tee when he decided he could not start.
“I just slipped and fell down the stairs and landed on my lower back. It’s just really tight. I was making some swings on the range to go max about 80 percent. It’s just so tight, I couldn’t get through it,” Johnson said.
“The backswing was fine. I could make a good backswing but every time down right at impact it would just catch. I just don’t feel like there’s any chance of me competing. It hurts. I was doing everything I could to try to play.
“Last night was doing ice, heat, ice. I was up pretty much all night trying to get it ready for today. I got it worked on this morning. I can make some swings. It’s just that I can’t swing full. I can’t make my normal swing. I just don’t feel like there is any chance I’ll be able to compete.
“I want to play more than anything. But sitting there on the putting green, I made a few swings on the putting green. I just can’t swing the club.”
Johnson said he had no reason to believe there would be any long-term issues as a result of his fall. Had it happened Monday, Johnson said, he probably would have been ready to go by Thursday.
Instead, Johnson will miss The Masters and doesn’t plan to play the next three weeks.
“It sucks,” Johnson said. “I want to play. 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 sucks really bad.”