Graeme McDowell has defended criticism of the U.S. Open course set-up having missed the cut in shooting scores of 79 and 70 at Shinnecock Hills.
The 2010 U.S. Open champ headed to the clubhouse near lunch on day two well down the board at nine-over par for his two rounds and then two shots shy of the expected seven-over cut mark.
Unlike day one, there was just one hiccup for McDowell and that was taking a double-bogey at his ninth hole before producing a two-under par inward half thanks to birdies at 10 and 16.
And of note, this year’s two-round U.S. Open effort was not McDowell’s poorest showing in the Major as he posted a first two rounds of 76 and 77 for a 13-over par tally in 2013 at Merion.
But the 2018 U.S. Open on day two was a clear case of luck of the draw with McDowell, Lowry, Tiger Woods and World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who contineud to lead, having to deal with cold and rain while the afternoon stars such as the England duo of Ian Poulter and Justin Rose enjoyed hot and sunny weather.
“It looks like the late Thursday and early Friday side of the draw is not going to be the desirable side and I am going to finish one or two shots shy of making the cut,” said McDowell.
“It was again difficult out there this morning when the rain came on as the rough got wet and the course got wet. Looking back, I had 42 go’s with the putter yesterday with 36 on the putting surface and six from the fringes and that was not ideal, so the putter hurt me yesterday.”
“If I had of went out there today and shot another 75 or something today and left here with my head in my arse I would have been very disappointed as my game is in good shape at the moment.”
“So it was pleasing to play well especially that back nine. Yesterday was just an anomaly as it was a very difficult day and it kind of took me by surprise.”
“Technically, my round wasn’t all that bad today but I just couldn’t see a way to get the ball sin the hole and the greens were just really quite scary.”
But as the afternoon half of the draw took to the course McDowell was not about to leave Long Island early, especially after arriving on the back of a fifth place finish in Italy.
“I am just praying now that I can slip into the weekend because any score in single digits over par, like it was in ’04 here, makes a great cheque and great World Ranking points,” said McDowell, but unfortunately he was right with his initial assessment of his position as the cut fell at +8 and he missed out by a shot.
“So, I dearly want to be here but if I’m not, thankfully I have managed to play decent tee-to-green these last two days and not get U.S. Open-ed and go away thinking I am not playing well.”
“And looking back now I don’t think, given the conditions, nine-over is a horrendous effort around there for two rounds. I knew it would be difficult but you don’t realise how difficult till they start tucking the pins in corners.”
“The pins were vicious yesterday and coupled with fact the greens in the afternoon didn’t putt all that well but we were hoping to get smoother surfaces this morning and while we did, it started to rain for nine holes.”
“That hurt us, but it was a good hang and I made some good swings coming in and managed to birdie 16.”
And McDowell defended criticism in some quarters that the USGA, as organisers of the event, have got in wrong with golf fans the world over not wanting to see the game’s best struggle and shooting well over-par scores.
“I think the golf course was fair but then I saw a survey on the Golf Channel this morning that said that 70% of the people don’t mind watching the top players in the world shoot over par,” he said
“If the fans think that’s entertainment then great. Hey, I’m a U.S. Open guy. I like it tough but then there is tough and there’s batten down the hatches tough.”
“So, it’s very hard to moan about it being unfair as it’s not unfair as guys are getting it around in under par, and I feel that anything in single digits over par at this stage could have made it through to the weekend.”
Shane Lowry looked both physically and mentally drained after the toughest two days of golf he’s played for some time shooting scores of 75 and 79 for a 14-over par Shinnecock Hills total.
Lowry failed to secure one birdie on day two in a round of seven bogeys and a 14th hole double-bogey.
“I just ruined my chances yesterday playing so well but not shooting a score when I needed to and also after getting off to a decent start,” said Lowry
“Today, I just three-putted the first and after that I just shot myself in the foot. There were some good scores out there today and the course should be nice for the guys going out there this afternoon.”
“Look I’ve missed the cut and it’s not the end of the world and the thing is this place is going to beat you up on the best of days.”