JB Holmes and Shane Lowry lead the way and have plenty of star quality to watch out for, but several big names won’t be challenging at Royal Portrush.
For just the second time in his career, Tiger Woods has missed the cut in multiple Majors in one season. The three-time Champion Golfer looked a shadow of the player who so memorably won the Masters in April, with fitness issues clearly prohibiting his movement and swing.
Couple that with the difficult conditions he went out in on Thursday afternoon and the result was an ugly +7-round of 78 on the opening day.
The damage for Woods may have been done in the first round but for Rory McIlroy, it was done on the first hole.
The Holywood boy – a Champion Golfer in 2014 – tugged his tee shot out of bounds and could not recover, firing an approach into a bush before eventually trudging off with a quadruple-bogey.
A double-bogey and triple-bogey for the closing three holes rubbed salt into the wound and he left with a +8-round of 79.
The 2013 Champion Golfer has struggled for much of 2019 and embarked on a dramatic weight-loss programme in order to shake things up.
Sadly for him, it is yet to have the desired effect and Mickelson – who has always endured a love-hate relationship with links golf – can now take the weekend off. Much of the damage was done Thursday morning, with two bogeys over the first six holes setting the tone for the day. He turned at +2 before going on to drop four more shots.
That left him at +5 and any chance of a famous comeback to make the weekend was all but extinguished at the second on Friday, where he registered a double-bogey. He eventually finished on +8.
It’s been a crazy few weeks for Gary Woodland and it all appeared to catch up with him at golf’s original championship.
Last month, the popular American claimed his first Major at the US Open while his wife is also on the verge of giving birth to twins. And all of that conspired to knock him off his stride as he struggled to get to grips with the Dunluce Links, compiling rounds of 74 and 71 to miss the mark by two.
Best of the rest
There are plenty of other big names packing their bags, including Australia’s Jason Day – who was -3 at one point before falling back to +2. His countrymen Adam Scott and Marc Leishman will be joining him on the flight home.
Champion Golfers Zach Johnson, Padraig Harrington and Paul Lawrie also bid goodbye while Ian Poulter limped along to +7 and the much-fancied Adam Scott to +9.
Tom Lehman bid farewell to this year’s Championship and perhaps The Open for good, with his exemption as a Champion Golfer now expired.
Joining Tiger Woods in missing out was fellow top-10 player Bryson DeChambeau (74, 73).
While there will also be no Silver Medal winner this year as no amateur made it to the weekend, with Ireland’s James Sugrue and Japan’s Takumi Kanaya missing out by a stroke.