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Golf-World number one Dustin Johnson pulls out of Masters after injuring back in freak fall

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AUGUSTA, Georgia, April 6 (Reuters) - World number one Dustin Johnson pulled out of the U.S. Masters on Thursday after sustaining a back injury in a freak fall.

The American, favorite to win the title after victories in his last three tournaments, slipped on stairs in his rental house on Wednesday sparking immediate speculation he would miss the year's first major.

The guessing game continued right up until the moment Johnson appeared on the first tee with playing competitors Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker then walked away without taking a shot.

Each Masters winner throughout history

81 PHOTOS
Each Masters winner throughout history
See Gallery
Each Masters winner throughout history

1934: Horton Smith, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1935: Gene Sarazen, United States

(Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

1936: Horton Smith (2), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1937: Byron Nelson, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1938: Henry Picard, United States

(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

1939: Ralph Guldahl, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1940: Jimmy Demaret, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1941: Craig Wood, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1942: Byron Nelson (2), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1946: Herman Keiser, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1947: Jimmy Demaret (2), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1948: Claude Harmon, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1949: Sam Snead, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1950: Jimmy Demaret (3), United States

(Photo via Hulton Archive via Getty Images)

1951: Ben Hogan, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1952: Sam Snead (2), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1953: Ben Hogan (2), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1954: Sam Snead (3), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1955: Cary Middlecoff, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1956: Jack Burke, Jr., United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1957: Doug Ford, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1958: Arnold Palmer, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1959: Art Wall, Jr., United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1960: Arnold Palmer (2), United States

(Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images)

1961: Gary Player, South Africa

(Photo via Getty Images)

1962: Arnold Palmer (3), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1963: Jack Nicklaus, United States

(Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

1964: Arnold Palmer (4), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1965: Jack Nicklaus (2), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1966: Jack Nicklaus (3), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1967: Gay Brewer, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1968: Bob Goalby, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1969: George Archer, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1970: Billy Casper, United States

(Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

1971: Charles Coody, United States

(Photo via S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport via PA)

1972: Jack Nicklaus, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1973: Tommy Aaron, United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1974: Gary Player (2), South Africa

(Photo by Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

1975: Jack Nicklaus (5), United States

(Photo via Getty Images)

1976: Raymond Floyd, United States

(Photo by Tony Roberts/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

1977: Tom Watson, United States

(Photo by Tony Roberts/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

1978: Gary Player (3), South Africa

(Photo by Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

1979: Fuzzy Zoeller, United States

(Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

1980: Steve Ballesteros, Spain

(Photo by Steve Powell/Getty Images)

1981: Tom Watson (2), United States

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

1982: Craig Stadler, United States

(Photo by Brian Morgan/Getty Images)

1983: Steve Ballesteros (2), Spain

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

1984: Ben Crenshaw, United States

(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

1985: Bernhard Langer, Germany

(Photo by Brian Morgan/Getty Images)

1986: Jack Nicklaus, United States

(Photo by David Cannon/Allsport via Getty Images)

1987: Larry Mize, United States

(Photo by David Cannon /Allsport via Getty Images)

1988: Sandy Lyle, Scotland

(Photo by Getty Images)

1989: Nick Faldo, England

(Photo credit JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

1990: Nick Faldo (2), England

(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

1991: Ian Woosnam, Wales

(Photo credit PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

1992: Fred Couples, UNited States

(Photo by Gary Newkirk via Getty Images)

1993: Bernhard Langer (2), Germany

(Photo by Lutz Bongarts/Getty Images)

1994: José María Olazábal, Spain

(Photo by David Cannon/ALLSPORT via Getty Images)

1995: Ben Crenshaw (2), United States

(Photo by J.D. Cuban/ALLSPORT via Getty Images)

1996: Nick Faldo (3), England

(Photo by David Cannon/ALLSPORT via Getty Images)

1997: Tiger Woods, United States

(Photo credit TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

1998: Mark O'Meara, United States

(Photo credit TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

1999: José María Olazábal (2), Spain

(Photo credit JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

2000: Vijay Singh, Fiji

(Photo by Paul Severn via Getty Images)

2001: Tiger Woods (2), United States

(Photo credit TIMOTHY A CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

2002: Tiger Woods (3), United States

(Photo credit TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

2003: Mike Weir, Canada

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

2004: Phil Mickelson, United States

(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

2005: Tiger Woods (4), United States

(Photo credit JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

2006: Phil Mickelson (2), United States

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

2007: Zach Johnson, United States

(Photo by Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT via Getty Images)

2008: Trevor Immelman, South Africa

(Photo credit DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

2009: Ángel Cabrera, Argentina

(Photo by Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT via Getty Images)

2010: Phil Mickelson (3), United States

(Photo by Tim Dominick/The State/MCT via Getty Images)

2011: Charl Schwartzel, South Africa

(Photo by Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

2012: Bubba Watson, United States

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images for Golfweek)

2013: Adam Scott, Australia

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

2014: Bubba Watson (2), United States

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Golfweek)

2015: Jordan Spieth, United States

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

2016: Danny Willett, England

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

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Johnson arrived at Augusta National around mid-day and warmed up under the watchful eye of swing coach Butch Harmon.

The situation appeared dire as Johnson took a few cautious swings.

The big-hitting American was in clear discomfort unable to bend over leaving his caddie to tee up his ball.

SEE ALSO: How to qualify for the Masters, the world's most prestigious golf tournament

With his 2:03 tee time approaching Johnson was in deep discussion with his team on the practice range and told a television reporter he was going to give it a try.

A grim-faced Johnson made his way to the first tee but after a few swings turned and walked to the clubhouse.

It was later announced he was withdrawing from the tournament.

The last number one to miss one of golf's majors due to injury was Rory McIlroy at the 2015 British Open and before that Tiger Woods at the 2014 Masters. (Editing by Ed Osmond and Louise Ireland)

WAGs of notable Masters golfers

27 PHOTOS
WAGs of notable Masters golfers
See Gallery
WAGs of notable Masters golfers

Daniel Berger's wife, Victoria Slater

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Paul Casey's wife, Pollyanna Woodward

(Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

Roberto Castro's wife, Katie Castro

(Photo via Twitter)

Kevin Chappell's wife, Elizabeth Chappell

Jason Day's wife, Ellie Harvey

(Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

Ross Fisher's wife Joanne Fisher

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Branden Grace's girlfriend, Nieke Coetzee

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Bill Haas' wife, Julie Haas

(Photo by Vincent Sandoval/WireImage)

Adam Hadwin's fiancee, Jessica Dawn

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Russell Henley's wife, Teil Duncan

(Photo by Thomas Concordia/Getty Images)

Charley Hoffman's wife, Stacy Vasil

JB Holmes' wife, Sara Holmes

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Dustin Johnson's fiancee, Paulina Gretzky

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Kevin Kisner's wife, Brittany Kisner

(Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

Brooks Koepka's girlfriend, Becky Edwards

(Photo by Scott Halleran/PGA of America via Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy's girlfriend Erica Stoll

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson's wife Amy Mickelson

(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Ryan Moore's wife, Nichole Olson

Alex Noren's fiancee Jennifer Kovacs

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Webb Simpson's wife, Taylor Dowd Simpson

(Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Jordan Speith's girlfriend Annie Varret

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Daniel Summerhays' wife, Emily Summerhays

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Hudson Swafford's wife, Katherine Wainwright Brandon

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Bubba Watson's wife, Angie Ball

(Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

Chris Wood's wife, Bethany Wood

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Danny Willett's wife ,Nicole Willett

(Photo credit OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

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(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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