June 15, 2012
Bad weekend for Donald, McIlroy
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
SAN FRANCISCO - It was a great day for England.
Just not at The Olympic Club.
England's success Friday was limited primarily to the soccer pitch across the pond, where the country scored a 3-2 win over Sweden at Euro 2012.
The world's top-ranked golfer happens to come from England as well. And while his soccer team was mounting a comeback, he was standing in front a group of reporters, wondering where it all went wrong at the U.S. Open.
Luke Donald shot a two-over-par 72 Friday, but unfortunately for him it followed a 79 Thursday. As a result, he's headed home with a lot of other good players. This marks the sixth consecutive year Donald has missed at least one cut in a major.
"I think it was more a case of just not quite feeling too comfortable with the swing this week," Donald said. "And that happens. I feel that not just major weeks but other weeks, too."
One of the few times Donald had reason to celebrate was on the fifth hole, when he gave a high-five to fellow Englishman Lee Westwood for making a long birdie putt. Westwood, ranked No. 3 in the world, had two reasons to smile. Not only did his soccer team win (he apparently skipped post-round interviews to watch the second half of the game), he made the cut after a second-round 72.
Westwood often has been near the lead of majors. He needs to be at the top of one soon, or the chances will to run out.
When the third member of their group, defending U.S. Open champion and world No. 2 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, was lining up a putt on the par-3 third hole, someone in the gallery yelled, "Let's go, Rory!"
Unless he was talking about going on a tour of Alcatraz with him Saturday, there was no point. McIlroy played as if he was using a soccer ball. He followed his opening 77 with a 73 Friday, and then proceeded to treat the media the way he played -- badly -- by refusing to come out for interviews.
He did speak eventually to a pool reporter, and said his two rounds weren't as bad as they appeared. Then again, he was playing poorly coming into the event, so he shouldn't have been overly surprised with his result.
"I just realized you (have) to keep working hard," McIlroy said. "It doesn't come easy to you all the time, yeah. It hasn't been the greatest run over the last sort of six weeks or whatever it is, but I still see enough good stuff in the rounds that it does give me hope that it's not very far away."
McIlroy had a chance to flirt with the cut line after two-putting for birdie on the short par-4 seventh hole, but he gave it right back on his final hole, the eighth, when he three-putted for a 10-over total.
So the USGA has its revenge on McIlroy, who ate up and spit out Congressional last year. His 36-hole total was 21 strokes worse this year than last.