October 13, 2016 / 1:17 PM / 2 years ago

Willett out of British Masters with bad back

Golf Britain - Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Old Course St. Andrews, Scotland - 8/10/16 England's Danny Willett hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the third round Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith Livepic

WATFORD, England (Reuters) - U.S. Masters champion Danny Willett was forced to pull out of the British Masters on Thursday because of a bad back, organizers said.

The 29-year-old Englishman, who was due to partner fellow countryman Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and Swede Alex Noren in the first round at the Grove course on the outskirts of London, was replaced by South African Justin Walters.

Willett was a center of attention when Europe were beaten 17-11 by the United States at the Ryder Cup in Minnesota earlier this month after his brother criticized the behavior of American fans before the start of the biennial team event.

The player went on to have a debut to forget at Hazeltine National, losing all three of his matches in the competition.

Writing by Tony Jimenez, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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