Dustin Johnson might not tee off at the Masters – because of a bad back
Johnson, who fell and injured his back last night, took to the driving range at Augusta this afternoon – an hour before his tee-off time at 7.03pm.
There he hit short wedges and iron shots, although his driver stayed in his bag.
His agent has insisted Johnson will play – but fans at the course are not so sure.
One took to Twitter and wrote: “Dustin Johnson didn't look good at all on the range today. Can't see him playing!!”
Another wrote: “Not a long range session for @DJohnsonPGA; seems still up in the air if he tees off.”
Dustin Johnson didn't look good at all on the range today. Can't see him playing!! ������������������⛳️⛳️
— Tim Dennis (@TDennisSportTog) April 6, 2017
Some on social media are taking Dustin Johnson's short range session as a sign he might not play after all. Let's see what happens at 2:03.
— Garry Smits (@gsmitter) April 6, 2017
Masters 2017: Dustin Johnson emerges after injury scare
Thu, April 6, 2017
Click for the first snaps of Dustin Johnson emerging after his injury scare before the Masters 2017
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Dustin Johnson emerges for the Masters 2017 following an injury scare
A fellow golf fan tweeted: “i'm not sure he is, he just did a 10 minute warm-up and abruptly quit and was holding back.”
While another added: “Well looks like Dustin Johnson's Masters is over before it started. That sucks! #themasters.”
Johnson "will be affected" by his fall on the eve of the Masters even if he declares himself fit for the start of the tournament, according to a golf biomechanics expert.
Johnson is taking anti-inflammatories in an attempt to reduce the pain in his lower back and take his place in the final group out.
However, even if he does start, PGA-qualified professional Mark Bull does not believe he will do so unencumbered.
"The majority of rotation is through the spine," Bull, who runs a 3D biomechanics and fitness business at Surrey's Reigate Hill Golf Club, said.
"Any spine injury invariably will influence some of the ability of rotation as regardless of whether there is any kind of pain, if someone is aware of something not being healthy they will be affected.
"If the spine is unhappy doing what it is doing they will have to do something to protect it.
"All the limbs are connected to the spine so any kind of injury is not good for golf and for someone like DJ, and the distance he produces, it would be very difficult.
"The challenge is different parts of the spine get exposed to different loads – the neck, ribs, lumbar region – and the loads can be huge.
"Someone like DJ would probably rotate at 800 degrees per second, which is very fast.
"The golf swing goes through about 150 degrees of rotation and it does it in less than a second.
"Doing that 100 times a day, including practice, puts a lot of stress on the spine and even though these guys are such good athletes through conditioning even the greatest athletes will get some sort of pain."