Although the second round has not been officially concluded, which means that the cut at the Players Championship 2021 is not entirely official, several of the biggest names in golf are clearly out of contention at this year’s first major event. When the cut is finally made on Saturday at either even par or 1 over, there will be several stars who cannot move to the weekend.
The players are always threatening when it comes to pushing stars and superstars out, and there is almost no other tournament in the world that is so punishing when it comes to big players whose games are even a little skewed.
Head among this crowd this week was Rory McIlroy, who could not recover after his opening 79 on Thursday. He shot a 3-over 75 on Friday, and the stretch of no-one ever winning two consecutive editions of this tournament continues as McIlroy came in as the 2019 defending champion.
McIlroy was pretty creepy throughout the bag, but he said after his round that he’s been a little crazy about Bryson DeChambeau mania and the lure of adding speed on a trip that rewards it.
Rory has been fascinating to watch this year because his good laps have still been really good, but he has not been able to tighten anything up for four days in a row. This has often been the case for him throughout his career – where a round or even a nine-hole stretch completely raises his tournament – and it got worse this week as he went out at 43 on Thursday morning.
TPC Sawgrass (which is not the case) exposed much of what he has been at war with for the past few months. He has a lot of work to do before the champions, which is in a month, but as he said earlier in the week, there is always a way forward. The good swings and the elite level of the game are always in there. He just needs to find it.
The other notable missing cut, albeit for a different reason, came from Viktor Hovland. He even reported a sentence the following Thursday his mother (!!) informed him about it that he had moved his ball marker on a green to let player partner Justin Thomas put, but then forgot to move it back when he replaced his ball after the put. He called it the PGA Tour after round 1, and it cost him two strokes on his scorecard. He obviously missed (of course!) The cut by two.
Here are some of the other stars who are not playing this weekend.
2021 Players Championship: Remarkable missed cuts
- Tommy Fleetwood (+2)
- Viktor Hovland (+2)
- Webb Simpson (+2)
- Tony Finau (+3)
- Xander Schauffele (+4)
- Patrick Cantlay (+5)
- Rickie Fowler (+6)
- Rory McIlroy (+10)