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Pebble Beach loses another top name as defending champ Daniel Berger WDs with back problem

February 02, 2022

Daniel Bergercelebrates his eagle putt to win on the 18th green during the final round of the 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Ezra Shaw

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.—A field that already lost one top player and is missing several others due to a competing big-money event in Saudi Arabia lost another headliner Wednesday when defending champion Daniel Berger withdrew from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a back injury.

No information was available on how Berger, a member of the winning U.S. Ryder Cup team, hurt his back or how serious it is. There was no mention of any injury yesterday during his press conference. He has a history of wrist and rib injuries that previously caused him to miss time on the PGA Tour.

Ranked 16th in the world and coming off a T-20 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, Berger shot a final-round 65 last year at Pebble Beach Golf Links to rally for his fourth career PGA Tour victory. He was scheduled to begin defense of his title at Monterey Peninsula Country Club at 9:25 a.m. PT paired with Los Angeles rap music artist ScHoolboy Q, who is making his debut at the Pro-Am.

Veteran Kevin Stadler, who has missed the cut in 19 of his last 21 PGA Tour starts, replaces Berger.

The field at Pebble Beach now features just eight of the top 50 in the World Ranking, led by No. 4 Patrick Cantlay and AT&T ambassador Jordan Spieth, the 2017 champion who is 15th in the world. On Monday, Will Zalatoris, world No. 29 and the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19. Zalatoris finished runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open last week after a playoff loss to Luke List.