McIlroy missed the cut at the Open for the first time in his career. (Redington/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy missed the cut in The Open Championship for the first time in his career on Friday, shooting a second-round 75 to finish his week at 12 over.
His 154 total is the highest two-day total of his career while missing a cut in a major. In 2010, he shot 75-77 to miss the cut at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
"Disappointed," McIlroy said in describing his play at Muirfield the last two days. "But I guess I have a clearer picture of what I need to work on and what I need to do to put things right.
"Sometimes this game can feel further away than it actually is. At the end of yesterday it couldn't have felt much further away."
It was only marginally better on Friday.
McIlroy played his first eight holes in 5 over before turning things around with three birdies and just two bogeys the rest of the way, hitting driver off the tee much of the time.
"I decided that I was going to hit driver every hole that I could, because that's going to be a big factor the next few weeks," said McIlroy, who will defend his PGA Championship next month at Oak Hill.
He's hardly the only big name headed home early.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, who tied for fourth in the 1998 Open Championship as a 17-year-old, shot 77 Friday to finish his week at 10 over.
Luke Donald was eight shots better than his opening round with a 72 in the second round, but it wasn't enough to stick around. He finished at 10 over, too.
Rickie Fowler, who two years ago had his best finish in the Open with a tie for fifth, ended this week at 12 over after a 76 on Friday.
Even five-time Open champion Tom Watson, who four years ago nearly became golf's oldest major winner before losing to Stewart Cink at Turnberry, won't be around this weekend.
He shot a second-round 78 to finish at 11 over.