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Hideki Matsuyama withdraws from The Players Championship

A lingering back injury forced Masters reigning champion to withdraw from The Players Championship prior to the opening round on Thursday.

First alternate Patrick Rodgers replaced Matsuyama in the field at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Rodgers, 29, joined a threesome that includes Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and Australian Cameron Smith in teeing off on the 10th hole Thursday.

Matsuyama, 30, became the first Japanese man to win a major when he emerged victorious at Augusta National last April. He also won the Zozo Championship in Japan in October and the Sony Open in Hawaii three months later.


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