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Dustin Johnson withdraws from Saudi event after tweaking back

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Dustin Johnson’s season debut ended before it began Thursday at the Saudi International, where he withdrew hours before the opening round because of a back injury.

The winner in Saudi Arabia in 2019 and 2021, Johnson pulled out of the event after “tweaking his back,” according to a brief statement released by Asian Tour officials. The Saudi International is sponsored by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the same organization that bankrolls the LIV Golf League.

Full-field scores from the PIF Saudi International

Johnson, 38, reportedly aggravated the back injury during a practice round at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, leading him to also skip the Wednesday pro-am.

The former world No. 1 was the dominant force on LIV last year, racking up $36 million in prize money and bonuses.

After the Saudi withdrawal, Johnson is next scheduled to compete at the 2023 LIV opener, Feb. 24-26, at Mayakoba in Mexico.