McIlroy aims to "play" his way into form
Rory McIlroy's 2013 Open Championship turned out to be brief and brutal as the world number two finished well outside the cut mark on 12 over par after another tough day at Muirfield
The world number two admitted to feeling "unconscious" during yesterday's second round and things did not improve as he continued to toil at the difficult Scottish links.
Beginning his second round on eight over, the 24 year old made a solid start with two pars before his round began to unravel with bogeys on three and four, a double bogey on the par three seventh and another bogey on the eight before he managed to stop the rot on the Par 5 ninth with a birdie to reach the turn at 12 over par.
The birdie didn't signal an upturn in fortunes as McIlroy suffered more bogeys on 10 and 14 before a second birdie of the day on the 15th and a third on the 17th saw him finish his second round with a 75 for a 12 over par total.
"I don't know if I can single out one thing," McIlroy said.
"I think it's been a combination of things, to be honest. I think the schedule hasn't been quite right, swing hasn't been quite right. And a combination of those has led to, I guess, sloppy play, just because of not being sharp enough.
"Whenever you are swinging it well and you're confident, you can take a couple of weeks off, go to the next event and play and you're OK.
"But I think when I'm struggling with my game, it's better to play my way out of it and that's something I haven't really done this year. I'm looking forward to playing golf and playing tournaments and getting into a run of events."
McIlroy admitted he played his second Open round with upcoming events in mind. "I was going to hit driver every hole that I could, because that's going to be a big factor the next few weeks," he added. "I actually drove the ball pretty well and ended up playing the last 11 holes under par. That's encouraging but obviously I'm disappointed to be going home for the weekend."
"I needed to get off to a fast start to have any chance of being here for the weekend," said the world number two.
"I was five over through seven holes so that didn't really happen, but after that I just decided to I guess practice a little bit for the next few weeks coming up.
"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 and obviously at the end of yesterday it couldn't have felt much further away."
The 24-year-old's next tournament will be the Bridgestone Invitational in a fortnight's time and he added: "I'm going to look forward to it, four really good competitive rounds there....there's no cut!
"I'm looking forward to that and it's a great prep for the US PGA (where he will defend his title at Oak Hill)."
McIlroy's fellow Nike stablemate Tiger Woods is safely in the clubhouse at two under alongside Lee Westwood who shot a fabulous 68 in the conditions
Darren Clarke is the leading Irish challenger after shooting a creditable 71 to finish on one over par.
The former Claret Jug winner recovered from an eight on the par four sixth to hit five birdies in an impressive showing and is only four shots off the lead which is held by Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez.
He leads a bunch of players on two under that includes Woods, Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson.
Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington just about made the cut after hitting four bogeys and a birdie on his closing five holes to finish his second round at six over par.
Graeme McDowell had three birdies and three bogeys in a level par round of 71 which leaves him on four over, a mark that was good enough to make the weekend.
Shane Lowry bogeyed two of his opening 14 holes to lie on five over.
Further bogeys on 15 and 16 dented the Offaly man's hopes of avoiding a premature end to his British Open as he was seven over playing the last but he conjured a birdie to finish on six over which seee him playing over the weekend.
Gareth Maybin will not be involved this weekend, the Northern Irishman finished on 12 over following a second round 76.
The projected cut is currently seven over.