Defending champion Jason Day lasted only six holes at the Dell Technologies Match Play until a heavy heart forced an early departure.
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth might not be far behind.
The opening round at the most unpredictable golf tournament took a stunning turn Wednesday when Day abruptly conceded his match to Pat Perez, and then revealed his mother has lung cancer, and he wanted to be home with her Friday when she has surgery.
Dustin Johnson had no trouble in his debut as the No. 1 seed in a 5-and-3 victory over Webb Simpson. McIlroy, the No. 2 seed, wasn't so fortunate. He lost when Soren Kjeldsen finished with four straight birdies.
Hideto Tanihara never trailed in a 4-and-2 victory over Spieth.