Defending champion Rory McIlroy, reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson and world No. 1 Luke Donald are among those who won't be hanging around for the weekend at Olympic Club.
McIlroy, who set a record for most strokes under par while winning the 2011 U.S. Open, concluded the afternoon Friday with a three-putt on the par-3 eighth hole. The bogey left him at 3-over-par 73 for the day and 10 over for the tournament, a fitting end to a frustrating U.S. Open for McIlroy.
"Obviously disappointed. It wasn't the way I wanted to play," McIlroy said. "It's just such a demanding golf course and just punishes the shot that's off line. You really have to be so precise out there, and if you're not, you're going to getpunished."
McIlroy is the first defending U.S. Open champion to miss the cut since Angel Cabrera in 2008. McIlroy never seemed to get things going, totaling 65 putts in 36 holes. He never registered worse than a bogey but failed to capitalize on several opportunities to chip away at the 7-over score he posted in the first round, succumbing to the increasingly savage Lake Course.
Of course, it's probably his own fault. McIlroy dominated in 2011 at Congressional Country Club in Maryland, posting the lowest total under par (-16) ever in the Open. It figured the powers that be would attempt to restore order.
"(This U.S. Open) definitely is more like we would expect, I think," said Nick Watney, whose 75 left him at 4 over heading
Watson and Donald played well Friday considering the difficulty of the course. Watson shot a 1-over 71, and Donald grinded out a 72. But considering the big numbers they each put up in the first round -- Watson was 8 over and Donald 9 over -- they needed to be much better.
Watson stuck with his game plan of shooting for length, willing to play out of the rough. His average driving distance topped 330 yards, but he missed 16 greens in regulation, 44th in the tournament.
Donald, playing in the same group as McIlroy, hit only 13 of 28 fairways the first two rounds. One of the tour's best putters, he managed just three birdies in 36 holes.
"If I had putted a little better (Thursday), I could have ground out a score and maybe been somewhere decently placed for the weekend," said Donald, still seeking his first win in a major. "But it wasn't to be, and I'm trying to learn from it and come back stronger next time."
The U.S. Open no longer uses the 10-stroke rule to determine the cut. This year, in an attempt to shrink the weekend field, the USGA adopted the PGA Tour's rule of top 60 plus ties. That put the cut at 8 over and left several other big names on the outside looking in.
Dustin Johnson posted a 74 Friday and dropped to 9-over, ending his bid for the weekend. Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion and runner-up at this year's Masters, also finished 9 over after shooting a 72.
Past U.S. Open champions Lucas Glover (2009), Geoff Ogilvy (2006) and Michael Campbell (2005) all missed the cut.
Cal-product James Hahn, who shot a respectable 73 in the first round, knocked himself out of the tournament with a 10-over 80 on Friday.
"I didn't warm up correctly," Hahn said. "My upper back, I think I pulled something. It just didn't feel right. Everything was just kind of off."