ERIN, Wis. – For many in this week’s field, Erin Hills has been a welcome reprieve from the brutal conditions and high scores that usually come with the U.S. Open. But for the top three players in the world, it was as much a house of horrors as any typical USGA setup.
Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day all missed the 36-hole cut of 1-over 145, marking the first time since the creation of the Official World Golf Rankings in 1986 that Nos. 1-3 all missed the cut in the same major.
Johnson entered the week as defending champ, but he was flummoxed on the greens during an opening-round 75 and dropped an additional shot in Round 2.
“I couldn’t possibly shoot any higher than I did. I just struggled on the greens. It’s simple,” Johnson said. “If you look at the golf course and you even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up perfect for us. But as we all know, this game’s all about putting. So it’s pretty simple, I just didn’t get the ball in the hole fast enough.”
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For McIlroy and Day, the damage was done before the second round even began. McIlroy birdied four of his final six holes Friday, but that merely salvaged a 1-under 71. At 5 over, he missed the cut by four shots and will miss the weekend at this event for the second straight year.
“I birdied four of the last six. I probably could have birdied all of the last six,” McIlroy said. “It didn’t matter at that point, because I was so far from the cut line. But at least I know it’s in there.”
Day suffered a pair of triple bogeys during an opening-round 79 that effectively ended his tournament, and at 10 over he beat only seven players in the 155-man field while missing the cut in a major for the first time since 2012.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” Day said. “I did the work, looked at the golf course, made sure that I could actually play and visualize the golf course. And I felt the most calm I have in a major in a long time this week. And just unfortunately this didn’t pan out.”
Reigning Open champ and world No. 6 Henrik Stenson also missed the cut at 3 over, as did No. 8 Alex Noren (+6) and No. 10 Jon Rahm (+5).