There’s a ton of pressure on golfers to continue to play well after winning a major championship, and some handle it better than others.
This week, several major champions didn’t play well at Muirfield, and their scorecards truly show it. Sure, it’s one weekend where they didn’t play the best golf of their careers, but they have a different standard to meet—and they failed to do so at the Open Championship.
You will not find their names toward the top of the final leaderboard:
Here are three recent major champions who failed to impress this week at Muirfield.
Rory McIlroy, +12
Rory McIlroy has been on quite the downward trend lately at majors. After winning the PGA Championship last year, he hasn’t finished in the top 20 of a major. He finished tied for 25th at the Masters earlier in the year and recently finished tied for 41st at the U.S. Open. He was a disaster this week at Muirfield.
McIlroy was a train wreck on Thursday, as he shot a 79. He was only one over entering the back nine, but then bogeyed four holes, double bogeyed a pair and birdied one to end his day at eight over. The second day was only a tad better, as he would shoot four over.
On Friday, it was the front nine that gave him trouble.
He bogeyed back-to-back holes on the third and fourth, and dropped two shots on the final three holes to close out the opening nine. He shot even par on the back, but it wasn’t enough to make the cut at Muirfield. His 12-over showing was not what he needed entering the final major of 2013.
Webb Simpson, +13
Webb Simpson hasn’t done much of anything at major tournaments since winning the U.S. Open last year at Olympic Club. He didn’t play the Open Championship in 2012, he got cut at the PGA Championship and the Masters, and he recently finished tied for 32nd when trying to defend his title at Merion.
Simpson had a solid start to the Open Championship this year, as he was just one over heading into the weekend. But the weekend absolutely destroyed him.
He had five bogeys and one double bogey on Saturday and seven bogeys on Sunday. He shot six over on each day to finish the championship at 13 over.
Simpson really struggled with his accuracy off the tee this week at Muirfield. He only hit 55.4 percent of the fairways, which is terrible considering how thick the rough was at the course. He also wasn’t very sharp on the greens, as he needed nearly three putts per green in regulation. He finished Sunday with 20 bogeys.
Graeme McDowell, +12
Graeme McDowell made his first major cut of the season at Muirfield this week, but he still wasn’t very impressive. The 2010 U.S. champion didn’t play the weekend at the Masters or the U.S. Open this year after finishing in the top 15 of all four championships a year ago.
McDowell finished tied for fifth at the Open Championship last year, but he wouldn’t come close to the top of the leaderboard this time around. He was four over after Friday and six over entering the final round at Muirfield. Sunday was a nightmare for McDowell, as he shot six over on the day.
McDowell handed his Sunday scorecard in without a birdie on it. He bogeyed four holes and double bogeyed one. He failed to hit many putts when he really needed to. It took him 3.1 putts per green in regulation throughout the championship, which is really embarrassing.
He has to be better with his putter going forward.