The weekend leaderboard at the 117th U.S. Open will be lacking some serious star power.
Jason Day and Rory McIlroy, two of the top three players in the world, took themselves out of the spotlight by missing the cut at Erin Hills on Friday. Both players posted miserable scores in Thursday afternoon’s opening round and could do little to dig themselves out. Hours later, Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world and the defending U.S. Open champion, fell short of the cut line as well.
McIlroy and Day, who played together for both rounds, were well outside the projected cut of +1 when their pairing was over. McIlroy finished at +5 (78-71) while Day struggled to a +10 (79-75). Only five players had posted worst scores than Day by the time he came in on Friday.
“I was in the hay a little too much over the last couple of days,” Day told reporters.
For Day, it was the worst 36-hole score in his major championship history and the first missed major cut since the 2012 PGA. Day’s only major win came at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on the shores of Lake MIchigan, but his Wisconsin magic didn’t carry west to Erin Hills. He posted eight birdies but those were decimated by 10 bogeys, one double and two triples.
“I usually love places like this,” Day said. “The golf course is actually really beautiful. And I just unfortunately just didn’t execute.”
McIlroy has battled a rib injury all season and it has limited his schedule. But despite his assertion that he felt fine, he couldn’t get it done. This is his second missed cut at the U.S. Open after playing poorly at Oakmont in 2016. He hasn’t won a major since winning The Open and PGA back to back in 2014, though he’s claimed five top 10s in that time.
McIlroy finished strong, recording birdies on four of the last six holes, including a near-ace on the last hole of the day. But it wasn’t enough. McIlroy is scheduled to play at Travelers next week.
“I think the more rounds I can play, I’m hopefully going to get rid of all that stuff and hopefully strip it down to what you saw the last six holes,” McIlroy said.
McIlroy defended the layout of Erin Hills earlier in the week after the length of the rough drew criticism from other tour players.
“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” McIlroy said on Tuesday. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here. If we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”
After hitting just 16 of 28 fairways, McIlroy will be doing just that.