Rory McIlroy’s odds in winning a second Claret Jug seem now in total disarray after he crashed out of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
What began on Monday with a pleasant ferry trip across the Irish Sea turned into a gloomy passage for McIlroy with rounds of 74 and 71 to miss the cut by one stroke on Dundonald Links near Irvine.
It is the second week in succession and a third event in four starts the World No. 4 will sit out the weekend rounds.
And after two separate injury concerns earlier this year McIlroy admits, and with The Open to commence on Thursday, he is well short of competition this season.
“No, I have not had far enough competitive rounds this year with my injuries and I have missed a lot of events”, he said.
“You just can’t mess with an injury and come back too early, so I missed a lot of play because of that and I have been playing catch-up all year because of that.
“So, I would have loved to have played more rounds not just going into next week but for the whole season”.
McIlroy gave spectators more than their money’s worth right from the outset on day two with a wayward drive left down the first that many ducking for cover.
However, the World No. 4 managed to save par and then gave those following him some glimmer of hope with birdies at the third, fifth and seventh holes to get himself inside the red at one-under.
But it turned pear-shaped when he failed to get out of a greenside bunker in taking a double bogey on 13.
Then at the last, and needing to hole a six-footer to give himself any chance of playing all four days in the $US 7m event, McIlroy failed to even hit the hole with his birdie putt and then taking par for a one over tally.
“I am not getting to play the weekend but again, I would be much more worried if I went out there and shot a couple of 76s and I was nowhere near trying to make the cut or not”, he said.
“The difference between shooting one under par and four or five under par is not much of a difference as I played the front nine today in three under and felt pretty good.”
“Look, it is what it is and I just have to get myself ready for next week.”
“I just feel like I have been on the wrong side of things these past two weeks and hopefully I am on the right side next week.
“If I go to Birkdale next week and shoot a couple of even par rounds, as I have done these past few weeks, I do not think I will be far out of it”.
McIlroy will now bring forward the second leg of his “road trip” with new wife, Erica and head south to Royal Birkdale for what will be now unscheduled practice rounds over this weekend on the 146th Open host venue.
Three players .. fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington (68), Watford ’s Callum Shinkwin (68) and little-known German Alexander Knappe (65) … lead the field on nine-under.
Harrington, who is clearly excited about returning to Birkdale where he reigned supreme in the 2008 Open, enjoyed a “boring” second day compared the “stress” on day one in searching for a loss ball late in his round.
“Today was just boring. There was no stress. All day, I made two birdies on par 5s and I hit two 7-irons on my 10th and 11th hole, the first and second hole, in pretty close,” he said
“So, that was my day and it couldn’t have been more opposite than yesterday”.