August 07, 2014
By Helen Ross and Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Jason Dufner was 8 over through his first 10 holes in Thursday's first round. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Defending PGA champ Jason Dufner withdrew from the PGA Championship after 10 holes on Thursday, citing pain for two bulging discs in his neck.
Dufner has been battling the injury since Masters week and earlier this week said he might have to miss the FedExCup Playoffs in order to get healthy for the Ryder Cup, provided he makes the team.
He is currently eighth in Ryder Cup points. The top nine after this week automatically qualify for the U.S. team.
"I'll play golf again when I'm healthy," Dufner said before exiting the parking lot. "That could be at The Barclays, that could be next year, that could be 2016. I refuse to be out here and not be healthy and not give myself a chance to be competitive."
Dufner shot 40 over his first nine holes, starting double-bogey, bogey, bogey, and had just tripled the 10th hole when he opted to pull out.
His symptoms included fatigue, shoulder tightness and no feeling in his left arm.
"I've been feeling pretty bad all week," he said. "I felt bad last week. I haven't made a birdie in 45 holes and I'm just not able to play golf right now. I don't need to be out here. I tried to do what I could to be able to compete some and give it a go, but it is just pointless."
Dufner first noticed the pain in his neck at the Masters in April but thought it might be related to a previous shoulder injury. He had an MRI on July 25 that revealed the injury and four days later received an injection he hoped would clear up the inflammation.
While Dufner said surgery isn't an option, he added that he has done everything he could to try to get healthy.
"Ice, rest, stem, active release, chiro, injection, pills; you name it I've done it over the last month," he added. "The only thing I haven't done is take significant time off."
He is the second prospective member of Tom Watson's team to withdraw on Thursday. Matt Kuchar, who had already locked up his spot at No. 5, didn't tee off after experiencing back pain.
Jason Dufner withdraws with a neck injury at PGA Championship