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May 10, 2013

Dustin Johnson withdraws for second consecutive week

Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from a tournament for the second consecutive week.

The Coastal Carolina alumnus withdrew prior to his second round Friday in the $9.5 million Players Championship citing a lower back injury.

Johnson shot a 2-over-par 74 in Thursday’s first round and hit balls on the driving range Friday in preparation for his second round, but withdrew prior to teeing off. He was scheduled to go off the first tee at 1:39 p.m.

“Felt good working out this morning but something didn't feel right on the range before the round. Hoping to rebound at the [HP Byron Nelson Championship next week],” read a post on Johnson’s Twitter account Friday afternoon.

Johnson missed last week’s $6.7 million Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., citing an injury to his left wrist/hand. He withdrew two days before the opening round and never traveled to the course.

Johnson has missed a disturbing amount of time on the PGA Tour in recent years for a 28-year-old who is considered one of the best athletes on tour at 6-foot-4 and nearly 200 pounds and has a golf-specific workout regimen.

He missed the first two events of the 2012 season following arthroscopic surgery on Nov. 29, 2011 to repair damaged cartilage in his right knee, then withdrew from the third event – the Humana Challenge – in the second round because of lower back pain.

He missed nearly three months last year from March to June because of a lower back injury he said was incurred while lifting a jet ski, and has now withdrawn from consecutive events with injuries. Johnson also skipped the 2009 Wells Fargo to nurse a wrist injury.

The Players withdrawal is Johnson’s third this year. Following a win in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, he withdrew the following week from the Sony Open in Hawaii after an opening-round 70 because of the flu.

If Johnson’s body allows, he’s planning to play in four tournaments over the next five weeks.

The Byron Nelson is next week at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas, where he has recorded three consecutive top-20 finishes, including a tie for fourth in 2009 and tie for seventh in 2010.

He’ll likely skip the May 23-26 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial before three straight events in Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial in Ohio, where he also has three top-20s in his past four visits, FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, where he is the defending champion, and U.S. Open at Merion in Pennsylvania.

Johnson has three consecutive top-15 finishes in events he’s finished this year, with a tie for 12th in the WCG-Cadillac Championship ending March 10, tie for fourth in the Shell Houston Open ending March 31 and tie for 13th in the Masters ending April 14. He also participated in the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am on April 15 at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Club.

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