CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The year’s deepest field took a one-two punch Thursday afternoon when Masters champion Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson announced they would be skipping this year’s Players Championship.
“I’ve decided to pull out of the Players. I need to spend more time with (his son) Caleb and (wife) Angie, plan to take at least a month off. #familytime,” Watson tweeted.
Watson said he was exhausted last week when he tied for 18th at the Zurich Classic, where he was the defending champion, and will miss The Players for the first time since 2006. In five Players starts Watson had missed three cuts and his best finish was a tie for 37th.
Johnson has been slowed by back pain since he returned to the Tour at the Humana Challenge following knee surgery and he missed the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Masters. Johnson is expected to start chipping and putting in the next few days, but according to his manager with Hambric Sports Management there is no timeline for his return.
“Obviously, I am very disappointed to miss The Players Championship, as it’s our championship and a special week,” Johnson said in a statement. “However, after several weeks of rest and rehab on my back, I am excited to finally be feeling better and have been cleared to get back to work. It’s been a much longer road than I expected.”
Although the field is not set until Friday at 5 p.m. (ET), any withdrawals would prompt officials to use the FedEx Cup points list through the Zurich Classic to fill the field to 144 players.