Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy Miss Cut For British Open
Phil Mickelson had 44 victories on the PGA Tour, five majors, and 25 consecutive years of being ranked inside the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 50. Tiger Woods had 81 PGA Tour wins and 15 major titles. It would seem unthinkable either of these two golf powerhouses would miss the cut for the 148th British Open at Royal Portrush. However, this is exactly what happened to the two legends when the events unfolded. They did not have a remote horn. With the cut at two-over, both were sent home after two rounds.
Following his opening at the British Open with a five-over-par 76, Mickelson posted a 74 in the second round on Friday, missing his third cut in a row, his fourth in final five starts, and overall seventh since he claimed victory in February at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which marked his 44th PGA Tour victory. He was at a loss for words in explaining what happened.
“I’m playing so bad that I don’t really know what to say,” Mickelson said. “I thought after winning Pebble I was going to have a phenomenal year and the last four months have been surprisingly difficult.” Mickelson was not alone, however, by any means.
The end result for Woods was a one-under 70 during the second round on Friday but he was finished by a seven-over 78 during the Thursday opening round. He remained objective, though, during his self-analysis of exactly what caused him not to make the cut.
“I kind of grinded my way around the golf course today,” Woods said. “I had a chance to get it back to even par for the tournament. I didn’t handle the par-5s well. I was in the perfect position on all three of them. If I handled those par-5s well, I would be right there. It was certainly perplexing for both the golfers that they were not able to overcome these struggles on the return of the Open to Northern Ireland. It’s not like they needed a remote horn. Yet, the most emotional of the day was undoubtedly Rory McIlroy. Royal Portrush was his favorite golf course and only 62 miles away from where he grew up.
As he came off the 18th hole after shooting a 65, which was his second-lowest in the championship, he battled tears. He opened 79 initially but he was upset because he felt he let his compatriots down in not having the chance to win a second Open Championship or a fifth major. McIlroy expressed what he was feeling quite soon after the letdown came.
“Disappointed not to be here for the weekend,” McIlroy said. “Unbelievably proud of how I handled myself today coming back after what was a very challenging day yesterday. And just full of gratitude towards every single one of the people that followed me to the very end and was willing me on.”
McIlroy said he was doing this for the others around him that motivated him as much as for himself.
“As much as I came here at the start of the week saying I wanted to do it for me, you know, by the end of the round here today I was doing it just as much for them as I was for me,” McIlroy said. “Selfishly I wanted to feel that support for two more days.”
McIlroy said it will be tough not to feel fans cheering him onto victory at Royal Portrush.
“To play in front of those crowds today and to feel that momentum and really dig in, it’s going to be a tough one to get over,” McIlroy said. “To have that many people out there following me, supporting me, cheering my name, it meant the world to me.”
Perhaps, Justin Thomas said it best in his tweet about McIlroy then.
Even as a competitor and trying to beat the guy every week, sometimes I have to step back and realize how great @McIlroyRory is for golf. How he handles the spotlight, the highs, the lows, his social life, the fans, his golf, everything.. it’s awesome to watch
— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) July 19, 2019
Thomas is certainly right about McIlroy. He’s a true gift to the game, as is Mickelson and Woods. While these men did not perform up to their usual premium prowess, there’s no doubt they’ll be prepared for the next Open Championship.
About the author: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, consumer electronics, and the entertainment industry.