Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from the 2023 Saudi International on Asian Tour, saying he "tweaked his back."
Johnson was making his first tournament appearance of 2023 after last playing competitively in the LIV Golf Invitational Series team championship in Florida at Trump National Doral. Johnson has won this tournament twice, in 2019 and 2021, when it was played as a then-European Tour (now DP World Tour) event.
The two-time major winner, 38 years old, apparently aggravated an existing back injury during a practice round at tournament host, Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, which forced him to withdraw from the pre-tournament pro-am in King Abdullah Economic City.
The Saudi International is now the flagship event -- a term no longer relevant for purposes of the Official World Golf Ranking -- of the Asian Tour as part of a 10-year, $300 million agreement between the Saudis and the Asian Tour. While the 126-player event is sanctioned by the Asian Tour, it is filled with players already part of or expected to be part of the LIV Golf League, which will launch in three weeks at Mayakoba Resort, a former PGA Tour venue.
The Saudi Arabaian Public Investment Fund, which also funds LIV Golf, backs this tournament with a $5 million purse and millions more in appearance fees to participating players.