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Injury may force Hal Sutton to withdraw

The Accenture Match Play Championship, already missing six of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, was on the verge of losing another one when Hal Sutton had to seek treatment today for a lower back injury.

"It only hurts when I hit a ball,'' Sutton said, lying face down as two physical therapists placed huge packs of ice on his back.

Therapists described it as a tear in the soft tissue of his lower back. Sutton said it happened a week ago when he swung his legs around to get out of his car, and "the plane trip over here didn't help."

It took him 33 hours to get from Shreveport, La., to Melbourne.

Sutton could not play a practice round Monday and walked off Metropolitan Golf Club after five holes today.

If Sutton has to withdraw, he would be replaced by Australian Peter O'Malley, who would assume his No. 2 seed.

"I don't think I would be doing the tournament any good if I couldn't compete,'' Sutton said.

Sutton, who defeated Tiger Woods in a head-to-head final round at The Players Championship last March, has been nagged by injuries since May, starting with tendinitis in his ankle the week he won in Greensboro.

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