Fred Couples, the winner of the 1984 Players Championship, has pulled out of this year’s event after a recurrence of a back problem that has troubled him of late.

The 50-year-old has joined Anthony Kim and Steve Stricker by pulling out of the ‘fifth Major’ and he will be replaced by fellow American Troy Merritt.

Couples lit up the golfing world with his performance at the Masters in April, however ‘Boom Boom’ will have to rest an injury that was troublesome during that week in Augusta.

The Players Championship has seen many illustrious and surprise winners in the past. This year’s event will present an opportunity for Phil Mickelson to overtake Tiger Woods at the top of the world rankings, whilst a number of other contenders will challenge for the PGA Tour’s most lucrative purse.

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