ERIN, Wis. — The top three players in the world will not play the weekend at the 117th U.S. Open. For the second straight year, Rory McIlroy is packing his bags early, as is defending champion Dustin Johnson and world No. 3 Jason Day.
This marks the first time the world’s top-three ranked players have missed the cut in the same major.
Johnson needed to post a round of 70 to survive the one-over cut. He started strong with back-to-back birdies and hovered around the cut line for part of Friday afternoon, but missed putts late cost him the chance to become the first player to defend his U.S. Open title since Curtis Strange in 1989. Johnson shot a one-over 73.
After posting a first-round 78, McIlroy found more of a rhythm on Friday, shooting a one-under 71. But his five-over finish was well short of the one-over cut, the lowest in U.S. Open history. The previous record was three over.
On Thursday, McIlroy hit just five fairways and nine greens in regulation. (That was his first competitive round since the Players, having taken time off to heal from a rib injury.) On Friday, he hit 11 fairways and 12 greens but his five birdies were offset by four bogeys.
“I was a little anxious going out there,” McIlroy said. “I got off to a good start, but it sort of caught up with me as the round went on. I think the more rounds I can play, I’m hopefully going to get rid of all that stuff and hopefully stripe it down to what you saw the last six holes.”
Day carded a three-over 75 Friday to finish a disappointing 10 over.
“It’s pretty frustrating when I got here Friday, put a lot of work in — not a lot, but I tried to pace myself,” 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…Unfortunately this didn’t pan out.”
Among the other notables who will be packing their bags are Daniel Berger (+9), who won last week in Memphis; Masters champions Bubba Watson (+4) and Adam Scott (+3); and 2016 major winners Jimmy Walker (+6) and Henrik Stenson (+3).
Other Tour stalwarts who missed the weekend include Billy Horschel (+12), Jason Dufner (+7), and Jon Rahm (+5).