LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Defending champion Jason Dufner, suffering from a neck injury and struggling just to swing a golf club, pulled out of the PGA Championship just past the midway point of the opening round.
After making a triple-bogey 8 on the 10th hole, he shook hands with playing partners Y.E. Yang and Keegan Bradley, a good friend, and returned to the locker room.
"There's no point to be out there hacking it around," he said before climbing into a courtesy car alongside wife Amanda and driving away from Valhalla Golf Club. "It's just pointless."
Dufner ranked eighth among players battling for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Had he held on — qualifying ends this week — Dufner would have been guaranteed a spot. He previously said he'd be willing to skip the FedEx Cup playoffs to be healthy for the Sept. 26-28 matches in Scotland.
But he said the Ryder Cup was a "secondary" concern right now. It may be for Dufner, but with Matt Kuchar, another likely automatic qualifier, also withdrawing earlier Thursday due to a bad back, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson's job became a lot more complicated.
"I understand they are falling like flies," said Watson, who also is playing the PGA Championship. "There's time between now and the Ryder Cup, and what's going to happen between now and Sept. 2, when I make my picks, is anybody's guess."
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