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AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Fred Couples, the 1992 Masters champion, withdrew from the year's first major citing back problems on Monday.
Couples was slated to start his 32nd tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, but pulled out after issuing a statement that he has been dealing with "acute back troubles the past two weeks".
The 56-year-old American has endured a chronic back condition throughout his career. He last competed on the PGA Tour at the Northern Trust Open on Feb. 19, when he missed the cut at Riviera. He had two starts earlier this year on the Champions Tour.
Couples has 11 top-10s at the Masters. He missed the cut last year to end a five-tournament string of top-20 finishes that included a sixth in 2010.
Reporting by Tim Wharnsby. Editing by Steve Keating.