2011 British Open

British Open 2011 Cut Line: Which Big Names Missed the Cut and Why

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 16:  (L-R) Luke Donald of England and Lee Westwood of England look on from the 16th tee during the first round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 16, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Michael DixonAnalyst IIIJuly 15, 2011

The British Open is halfway done. As is typically the case with the Open Championship, the only predictable element has been its unpredictability.

Golfers who got Thursday's afternoon times got the better end of the draw. The weather on Thursday morning was much more difficult than the afternoon.

Naturally, Thursday afternoon's golfers got the early morning time on Friday. The times are arranged that way to attempt to even out the weather. Unfortunately, for the Friday afternoon golfers that didn't happen, as the weather on Friday afternoon was more difficult than Friday morning.

But we're not going to analyze that much deeper. Sure, it's a big reason why some golfers make the cut and some don't, but it's absolutely unpredictable.

These are some of the big names who missed the cut. It's hard to believe that those who missed the cut aren't kicking themselves, as anyone within seven shots of the lead will be playing the weekend.

Just for reference, Louis Oosthuizen was the second-round leader and eventual champion of the 2010 Open Championship. His lead after two rounds was five shots.

A year ago, players eight back would have had a reasonably late tee time on Saturday. In 2011, these guys aren't even playing.

Luke Donald & Lee Westwood: The results of one tournament are not anywhere near vast enough to judge how strong someone's mental game is. But it appears as though Donald and Westwood, the world's No. 1 and No. 2 players respectively, just don't handle the high expectations that well.

In both cases, their best career majors have been when they were more dark-horse picks than favorites. Westwood hit a very solid 19 of 36 greens but also had three-putted five greens over the two days.

In total, Westwood made seven birdies, which is not a bad total by any means. Unfortunately, he also made nine bogeys and one double bogey.

Donald made five birdies but also made 11 bogeys to do himself in. Included in those 11 bogeys was each of his last four holes.

He stood on the 15th tee on Sunday at two-over, which is within the cut line with room to spare. He walked off of the 18th green at six over par, not even close to making the cut.

Donald's greatest problem is that he's not a long driver of the ball, and he's not accurate. In majors, that's a recipe for disaster.

 

Graeme McDowell: McDowell has just been slightly off since last year. After an opening round 68, he looked like a genuine contender.

Graeme McDowell has struggled to find his form in majors since winning the US Open in 2010
Graeme McDowell has struggled to find his form in majors since winning the US Open in 2010Andrew Redington/Getty Images

His second round didn't feature a single birdie. McDowell came in with a 77 and missed the cut by a shot.

McDowell's big putter is what let him down on Friday. On Thursday, he had only 26 putts. On Friday, that number was a full eight shots worse. The rest of his stat sheet is consistent from Thursday to Friday.

 

Nick Watney: Pegged by many (myself included) as the best American hope this week, Watney was just not consistent enough to make the cut, let alone be a contender.

Watney didn't look good after an opening round 74. But Friday looked better for him, as he made par on the first five holes. After making a birdie on six and an eagle on seven, Watney looked likely to not only make the cut, but possibly contend.

Then he made the turn, which did Watney in. He made bogeys on 11, 13, 14 and a double bogey on 16. By the time he made a birdie on the 17th hole, it was irrelevant.

Watney hit only eight fairways and half of the greens all week, considering those stats, his putting totals of 30 and 28 were really not acceptable.

 

Ian Poulter: After Donald and Westwood, Poulter was maybe England's best hope, although Paul Casey could certainly lay claim to that honor. An Englishman has not won a British Open since Nick Faldo in 1992, and they haven't won in England since Tony Jacklin in 1969.

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 15:  Ian Poulter of England looks dejected on the 18th green during the second round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 15, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

That trend could break this year, but Poulter won't be the man to do it.

Poulter was victimized by a bad second round. In it, he only hit six greens in regulation, which was in stark contrast to his total of 14 in the first round.

That's a really bad total, considering he wasn't particularly strong at hitting the fairway on either day and his drives were 17 yards longer on Thursday than Friday.

 

Matt Kuchar: Considering his reputation as a solid golfer who makes a lot of cuts, this is just baffling.

Other golfers here had one really bad round or two below-average rounds.

That never happened with Kuchar, who followed up an opening round 74 with a second round 77. Realistically, he made a bogey on three of the first five holes and was never a factor.

Kuchar only hit 18 greens and half of the fairways. Half of the fairways is not a horrible number, but his putter never bailed him out. Kuchar had 33 puts on Thursday and 31 on Friday.

 

Hunter Mahan: Mahan missed the cut by only one shot. If he had a better opening nine of the tournament, he would have been in contention.

After shooting a 40 on the first nine holes, Mahan came back with nines of 35, 35 and 34.

He had a chance to make the cut but made a bogey on the last hole.

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