GULLANE, Scotland Two weeks after enjoying the perks of a U.S. Open champion, from dining with the prime minister to watching the Wimbledon men's final from the Royal Box, England's Justin Rose led a parade of stars exiting the British Open.
Rose shot a 6-over-par 77 on Friday to finish with a two-day total of 152, missing the cut by two strokes. He was joined by several former major winners, including Rory McIlroy and Jim Furyk, and others like Luke Donald, Matteo Manassero and Davis High School graduate Nick Watney, ranked among the top 30 players in the world.
"Golf humbles you all the time," said Rose, No. 3 in the ranking.
The last U.S. Open champion to miss the cut at the British was Lucas Glover in 2009.
Two weeks of unseasonably warm weather and sunshine made the fairways in some places rock hard and more than a few greens lightning fast. Even players like McIlroy, who grew up playing on links courses, found the conditions testing their patience beyond the limit.
The Northern Irishman shot 75 to go with a first-round 79. Birdies were so few and far between that with his departure before the weekend already guaranteed, he celebrated one at No. 17 with an exaggerated fist pump.
"That was a very big putt for me," he said, laughing.
Slick 15th The nickname for Nicolas Colsaerts going into the Open was the "Belgian Bomber." He can only hope someone doesn't change it to "Six-Putt."
That's how many putts it took Colsaerts to get the ball into the hole on the 15th green, where he ended up making a quintuple-bogey 9. He missed the cut by a shot.
"When you see it on TV, it will look like a stupid situation, but he was trying on every putt and he missed each time," said Michel Vanmeerbeek, Colsaerts' putting coach. "One of the best players in the world ends up looking stupid."
Colsaerts wasn't alone. Zach Johnson three-putted from 10 feet, a putt from Billy Horschel went 30 feet when it was supposed to go 15, and player after player walked off the green shaking their heads in amazement.
"Obviously, 15 was a bit of carnage, when I'm trying to two-putt from 10 feet," Johnson said. "That was just not easy."
Ian Poulter was happy to get down in two on the green, where the hole was cut on a slope that was exposed to the wind.
"I managed to two-putt it, so I'm over the moon," Poulter said.
Mickelson backs off A day after he took British Open organizers to task for the setup at Muirfield, Phil Mickelson had a change of heart. That came despite shooting a 74 that included a four-putt on the 16th hole, where Mickelson took three putts from inside 4 feet.
"When I made those comments (Thursday), I wasn't being totally fair to the (Royal & Ancient) because they've done a lot of things great this championship," Mickelson said. "The fairway width is a very fair width to get the ball in play. The rough is difficult and challenging, but it's not over the top. It's very fair in spots."
Mickelson said a day earlier that some greens were unfair because of the speed of the course and pin positions.
"For me to single out just a few sketchy pin placements and not give them credit for all the good things they've done was not fair," he said.
Feast or famine With Graeme McDowell locking up a spot on the weekend, the rest of the field is advised to look out.
The Northern Irishman and former U.S. Open champion missed the cut in the season's first two majors and failed to make the cut in five of the eight tournaments he's played since the Masters, but he won all three when he made it to Sunday.
"Not like me to make a cut, so I'm pretty happy with that," McDowell said after shooting an even-par 71 for a 146 total. "Get your money on me now. I certainly didn't want to be sitting at home watching this on TV this weekend."
His only top-10 finish in the British Open came last year at Royal Lytham, when he tied for fifth.