US Open: Big Names Miss the Cut at Oakmont

Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

The end of Cut Day at the US Open saw some surprising retirements from the field.

US Open Cut Day has finally morphed into Moving Day at Oakmont. While some big names remain in the hunt for the 116th US Open, other stalwarts will be packing their bags early.

The “Big Four” – Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler – all underwhelmed. McIlroy (+8) and Fowler (+11) won’t be playing on the weekend. Day (+5) and Spieth (+4) will stick around, but they will have their work cut out for them to chase down 36-hole leader, Dustin Johnson (-4).

Early on Saturday in round two, Rory was firing on all cylinders in carding a 31 on holes No. 9-18, his first nine, to surge back to three-over-par for the tournament after a first-round 77. With golf fans rushing to their TVs to see the four-time major champion work his magic, McIlroy stumbled on his final nine. In the span of two hours, the Northern Irishman went from climbing back into contention to missing the cut, thanks to a double-bogey six on his final hole, the par-4 ninth.

US Open
A costly double-bogey on his final hole resulted in a missed cut for world No. 3 Rory McIlRoy at the U.S. Open Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

Perhaps even more confounding was Fowler’s performance this week and, more generally, in big events in 2016. A birdie on his opening hole in round one was one of few highlights for the 27-year-old many have pegged as next in line to land his first major championship. Fowler has also missed the cut at the Masters, THE PLAYERS (where he was defending champion) and the Memorial Tournament in 2016.

In his post-round interview with Fox’s Shane Bacon, Fowler remained positive, stating that his game may not be far off:

“The difference in being four- or five- or six-over and eight-, nine- or 10 is a very fine line. I’ve kind of been on that fine line for the past couple months. It’s a grind. All you need is one thing to go the right way for momentum and rhythm to change.”

Other Notables

Fan favorite Phil Mickelson fluttered around the cut line for most of his second round, but missed making the weekend by one stroke. Mickelson impressively avoided a score worse than bogey in both rounds, but just three birdies were not enough to help Lefty pursue his first US Open title.

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“I could BS you and tell you I don’t think about it,” Mickelson said in his pre-tournament press conference on the pursuit of winning his first US Open. “No, I think about it all the time. This is the tournament I want to win the most to complete the four majors. There’s no question.” Unfortunately for Phil, the wait will extend for at least one more year.

Past US Open champion, Ernie Els, was unable to recapture the magic he found at Oakmont over 20 years ago. The 1994 US Open champion carded a pair of 75s to finish at 10-over-par.

US Open
Ernie Els couldn’t recapture the magic from his 1994 U.S. Open victory at Oakmont. He missed the cut at +10 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

A bevy of past major champions were also no match for Oakmont’s treacherous rough and speedy greens: Webb Simpson (+11), Retief Goosen (+10), David Toms, Lucas Glover, Keegan Bradley (+9), Justin Rose and Geoff Ogilvy (+8) will have to wait for The Open in July to add another major championship trophy to their mantles.

Of the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking, all are competing at Oakmont and 15 survived to see the weekend. World No. 7 Henrik Stenson was on pace to miss the cut before withdrawing due to a calf injury.

Next: 10 Best Golfers Without a Major Championship

No. 11 Patrick Reed (+8), No. 15 Hideki Matsuyama (+12), No. 19 J.B. Holmes (+9), No. 20 Brandt Snedeker (+11), and No. 24 Paul Casey (+8) make up those in the top 25 who missed the US Open cut and are not previously listed.