Dustin Johnson out of Masters, Charley Hoffman soaring

Dustin Johnson withdraws from Masters with back injury

The odds are they won't be the last.

"Obviously, it was a tough day with the wind", world number 52 Hoffman told reporters.

Johnson arrived at Augusta National Golf Club about two hours in advance of his tee time on Thursday afternoon and tried to warm up enough to play, He took some half and three-quarter swings on the extensive practice range and then headed back inside the clubhouse to receive additional treatment.

On the eve of the major competition, last year's US Open champion, victor of his last three Professional Golf Association tournaments, injured his back after falling down a flight of stairs in the rented home he is staying in.

Smiling Phil Mickelson, one of the few players who savored the conditions: wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour.

He did that, and then some. After another birdie on the 12th, Hoffman closed his Round 1 with four-straight and a par.

He had birdies on seven of his final 11 holes to surge past McGirt, whose gutsy 69 looked like it might rule the round.

"I'm walking off there after my start ecstatic with a 72 and he is walking off with a 65, but as they say they don't give green jackets out on Thursdays and there is no winning post there". The victor of three straight, he was a head above the rest of the golfing world coming in, leading Rory McIlroy by more than four world-ranking points.

NO NUMBER 1: Dustin Johnson was the overwhelming favorite. He made the hard decision to withdraw.




Johnson, who said he will take three weeks off, snapped his string of four consecutive Masters starts.

Dufner was tied for the lead after 14 holes at 3-under before bogeying the par-5 15th and 18th.

Former champion Jordan Spieth was supposed to exorcise the demons of his quadruple-bogey seven on the 12th in last year's final round, and duly made par. This time, he minimized the damage. He finished with a three-over par 75. On Thursday, he took another quad with a 9 on the par-5 15th. He picked up another birdie on the 15th with a delicate wedge shot.

Sergio Garcia started with a birdie on the first hole to get to 2 under while Lee Westwood, who began the round in third, opened with a bogey to fall into a large group tied for fourth.

The bright weather was a relief for organisers, who were forced to call off the Masters Par 3 contest on Wednesday for the first time ever as heavy rain and storms buffeted the course.

"I really enjoyed it and I'm really looking forward to the next few days to see how I handle everything, and just go forward".

IT'S WINDY: Don't think the winds were bad at Augusta National on Thursday?

Unsurprisingly it was a par-five which played the easiest, with the 13th just edging out the second thanks to an average of 4.710.

"I love it around here especially because the wind is going to magnify your misses and a lot of the guys that aren't familiar with this course and where you can go to on certain holes for certain pins will miss in the wrong spot and end up making big numbers".

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