ERIN, Wis. – Former Masters champ Danny Willett withdrew from the U.S. Open prior to the start of his second round, citing a bad back.
Willett shot a 9-over 81 in the opening round, a score that featured a single birdie and left him ahead of only one player in the 156-man field.
“Well another disappointing week comes to an end,” Willett tweeted. “Working hard to get back but the body and swing not allowing it.. Sorry guys.. WD.”
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This is the second time in as many months that a back injury has led to the Englishman’s withdrawal, as he also pulled out of The Players Championship after playing his first 27 holes in 11 over. Willett also withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March prior to the opening round because of an unrelated illness.
Willett surprised many with his green jacket performance 14 months ago, but he has been largely absent in big events ever since. He failed to notch a point for Europe during last year’s Ryder Cup, and he has not cracked the top 35 in six majors since his breakthrough victory.
Willett finished T-5 at the European Tour’s Maybank Championship in February, but that remains his most recent top-50 finish in a stroke-play event.