GULLANE, Scotland – Brown and bouncy Muirfield took a toll on the entire Open Championship field on Friday, but the pain was particularly poignant for some high-profile players who figured to play their way into the weekend mix.
Atop the list of marquee players who missed the cut which fell at 8 over par were world No. 2 Rory McIlroy, who made just five birdies on his way to a 12 over total (79-75).
“I needed to get off to a fast start to have any chance of being here for the weekend. I was 5 over through seven holes, so that didn't really happen,” said McIlroy, who plans to play six of the next eight weeks including his title defense at next month’s PGA Championship. “But after that I just decided to try and practice a little bit for the next few weeks coming up.”
Former world No. 1 Luke Donald didn’t fare much better, struggling to rounds of 80-72 to miss the cut at the Open for just the second time since 2005 at 10 over. He was tied with U.S. Open champion Justin Rose (75-77) who also failed to advance to the weekend.
Two-thirds of the legendary trio of Fred Couples, Tom Watson and Nick Faldo also won’t be around for the weekend. Only Couples, with rounds of 75-74, will play the final two days. Watson finished at 11 over and Faldo, playing the Open for the first time since 2010, had a 15 over total.