Hideki Matsuyama's defence of his Masters title has been left in doubt after a neck injury forced the 30-year-old to withdraw from the Valero Texas Open.
Matsuyama became the first male Japanese golfer to win a major championship with last year's success at Augusta National, edging out American trio Will Zalatoris, Xander Schauffele, and Jordan Spieth in the final round for a one-stroke victory.
However, with less than a week remaining until the 2022 edition of the Masters begins on April 7, Matsuyama withdrew nine holes into his second round in San Antonio, citing a neck injury.
Reports have suggested that the 30-year-old has suffered a recurrence of the same injury which kept him out of The Players Championship last month, eventually won by Australia's Cameron Smith.
Matsuyama's most recent result saw him tie for 20th position at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and he has won two PGA titles since last year's Augusta triumph, winning the Zozo Championship on home soil last October before lifting Hawaii's Sony Open in a play-off in January.
Matsuyama sits 12th in the world rankings, and has made the top 10 in four of the 10 PGA events at which he has featured in the 2022 season.
Hideki Matsuyama WD during round two of the Valero Texas Open with a neck injury.— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) April 1, 2022