Rory McIlroy's British Open challenge all over

17:23, Jul 22 2013
Zach Johnson
Early first round leader Zach Johnson went five-under on the front nine.
Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter tries to use body English to move a putt during his first round.
Ian Poulter and Billy Horschel
Making a loud statement with their pants, Ian Poulter (left) and Billy Horschel.
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel Angel Jimenez plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole.
David Lynn
English man David Lynn plays his second shot on the 11th hole.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello was the early clubhouse leader at four-under.
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
Jason Day
Jason Day ponders a putting line on the second hole.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods lines up a putt early in his first round at Muirfield.
Shiv Kapur
India's Shiv Kapur rose briefly to the lead during the first round.
Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen is taken from the course on a golf cart after withdrawing.
British Open at Muirfield
A view of the 13th hole at the Muirfield course.
Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood shakes hands with Charl Schwartzel after the completion of their second round.
Charl Schwartzel
Charl Schwartzel plays from the bunker near the 16th green.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods reacts after missing a birdie putt on the ninth hole in the second round.
Ryan Moore
Ryan Moore tees off on the par-three 16th hole.
DA Points
DA Points hacks out of the long grass as a freighter sails by behind him.
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia adjusts his cap after finishing his second round.
Nick Faldo
Nick Faldo hugs his caddie and son Matthew in what could be his last British Open round.
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy waves at the crowd after rolling in a putt in his second round.
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel Angel Jimenez lines up a putt during his second round.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
Rafael Cabrera-Bello plays from off the fairway in front of a sombrero-wearing spectator.
British Open Golf
Lee Westwood reacts after making a birdie putt on the 17th hole.
British Open Golf
Tiger Woods reacts after a wayward shot on the 15th during his third round.
British Open Golf
Angel Cabrera reacts after missing his par putt on the 18th.
British Open Golf
Adam Scott enjoys the fine weather as he walks along the 18th fairway.
2013 British Open
Phil Mickelson celebrates a birdie putt on the 18th hole.
2013 British Open
Lee Westwood was unable to build on his early form and claim his first Major win.
2013 British Open
Tiger Woods shakes hands with his former caddie Steve Williams, who now works with Adam Scott.
2013 British Open
Adam Scott was unable to build on early promise and win his second Major.

Rory McIlroy turned the last 11 holes of his British Open into a glorified practice round as the Northern Irishman missed a British Open cut for the first time.

The world number two was already in dire trouble after an eight-over par 79 opening round and despite improving for a 75 on Friday his challenge came to an inauspicious end.

McIlroy described himself as "brain dead" and "unconscious" after his Thursday struggles on the scorched Muirfield layout but did finally recover his senses to play the final 11 holes in even par - no mean feat on the unforgiving greens.

Rory McIlroy
BEACHED AS: Rory McIlroy finds trouble in the bunker on the fifth hole during his first round 79.

It was a small positive to take away for a busy spell of six tournaments in eight weeks after which he said he hoped to rediscover the form that took him to the 2011 U.S Open and last year's PGA Championship.

"I needed to get off to a fast start to have any chance of being here for the weekend but I was five-over through seven holes, so that didn't really happen," he told reporters.

"After that I just decided to try and I guess practice a little bit for the next few weeks coming up.

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"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, and I actually drove the ball pretty well, and ended up playing the last 11 holes even par.

"That was encouraging, but obviously I'm disappointed to be going home for the weekend. It's the first time I've missed a cut at the Open."

McIlroy's next tournament is the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, where he is at least guaranteed four rounds of golf.

"It's a place I feel I can win. So going there, really excited to just play four rounds of golf," he said before adding with wry smile that "there's no cut".

McIlroy was not the only major winner to miss the cut as U.S. Open champion Justin Rose also bowed out on 10 over after rounds of 75 and 77.

"It was brutally tough," said Rose, who took three weeks off after winning the U.S. Open at Merion.

"This golf course just proved a bit too much for me this week and I wasn't quite prepared to play the U.S. Open all over again to be honest.

"This felt more like Shinnecock Hills in 2004 than it did an Open championship. I wasn't really expecting that."

Former world number one Luke Donald was another to perish, as did former Muirfield champion Tom Watson who, along with playing partner Nick Faldo, another former champion, was given a rapturous ovation.

"It just wears you out," said 56-year-old Faldo after a rare competitive appearance. "I'm delighted I did it but I don't recommend it. Don't try something when you haven't practised."

Reuters