Masters: Hideki Matsuyama looks a doubt for Augusta title defence due to neck injury | Golf News

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Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from the Valero Texas Open due to a neck injury and now looks a doubt for the Masters next week; the Japanese player won the Green Jacket last year, beating America’s Will Zalatoris by one shot at Augusta; watch the Masters live on Sky Sports next week

Last Updated: 01/04/22 5:28pm

Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from the Valero Texas Open due to a neck injury

Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from the Valero Texas Open due to a neck injury

Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama looks a doubt for next week’s major at Augusta after withdrawing from the Valero Texas Open with a neck injury.

Matsuyama pulled out of the tournament in San Antonio after playing nine holes in the second round. He shot a two-over par 74 in round one and had played the back nine in one under in round two before he decided to pull out.

The 30-year-old became the first male Japanese player to win a major championship when he took the Masters Green Jacket last year, beating America’s Will Zalatoris by one stroke.

Matsuyama’s appearance at the Valero Texas Open was his first since finishing in a tie for 20th place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.

The world No 12 withdrew from the Players Championship with a lingering back injury and also opted out of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The waiting is almost over for the opening men's major of the year, with extended coverage from Augusta National live on Sky Sports' dedicated Masters channel

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The waiting is almost over for the opening men’s major of the year, with extended coverage from Augusta National live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Masters channel

The waiting is almost over for the opening men’s major of the year, with extended coverage from Augusta National live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Masters channel

Speaking last week about his fitness during a conference call organised by Masters officials, Matsuyama said: “I’ve been receiving a lot of treatment, getting prepared. I’ll do my best to prepare well so I can defend my title at Augusta.

“I haven’t been able to practise as much as I’d like but what I have been doing I feel like I’m on the right track. Hopefully I can find the same form that I started the year with.

“Going to the Masters is something very special for me and something I’ve really been looking forward to so I’m going to do my very best to be as prepared as I can to defend my title there.”

Matsuyama began the year with victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii and a top-10 finish at the WM Phoenix Open.

Watch The Masters this April live on Sky Sports. Live coverage from April 4-10 will be exclusively live on Sky Sports’ dedicated channel – Sky Sports The Masters!

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