A Rose by any other name still headed for the exit
Two weeks after enjoying the perks of a U.S. Open champion, from dining with the prime minister to watching the Wimbledon men's final from the Royal Box, Justin Rose led a parade of stars exiting the British Open.
Rose shot a 6-over 77 Friday to finish with a two-round total of 152, missing the cut by two strokes. He was joined by several former major winners, including Rory McIlroy and Jim Furyk, as well as a few otherss, like Luke Donald, Matteo Manassero and Nick Watney, ranked among the top 30 players in the world.
''Golf humbles you all the time,'' said Rose, who is ranked No. 3.
The last reigning U.S. Open champion to miss the cut at the British was Lucas Glover in 2009.
Two weeks of unseasonably warm weather and sunshine made the fairways in some places rock-hard and more than a few greens lightning-fast. Even players like McIlroy who grew up playing on links courses found the conditions testing their patience beyond the limit.
The Northern Irishman shot 75 to go with a first-round 79. Birdies were so few and far between that with his departure before the weekend already guaranteed, he celebrated one at No. 17 with an exaggerated fist-pump.
''That was a very big putt for me,'' he said, laughing.
SLICK 15th: The nickname for Nicolas Colsaerts coming into the Open was the ''Belgian Bomber.''
He can only hope someone doesn't change it to ''Six-Putt.''
That's how many putts it took Colsaerts to get the ball in the hole on the 15th green, where he ended up making a quintuple-bogey 9. He missed the cut by a shot.
''When you see it on TV it will look like a stupid situation but he was trying on every putt and he missed each time,'' said Michel Vanmeerbeek, Colsaerts' putting coach. ''One of the best players in the world ends up looking stupid.''
If it's any consolation, Colsaerts wasn't alone. Zach Johnson three-putted from 10 feet, a putt from Billy Horschel went 30 feet when it was supposed to go only 15, and player after player walked off the green shaking their heads in amazement.
''Obviously, 15 was a bit of carnage, when I'm trying to two-putt from 10 feet,'' Johnson said. ''That was just not easy.''
Ian Poulter was happy just to get down in two on the green, where the hole was cut on a slope that was exposed to the wind.
''I managed to two-putt it, so I'm over the moon,'' Poulter said.
MICKELSON BACKS OFF: A day after he took British Open organizers to task for the setup at Muirfield, Phil Mickelson had a change of heart.
That came despite shooting a 74 that included a four-putt on the 16th hole, where Mickelson took three putts from inside 4 feet.
''When I made those comments yesterday, I wasn't being totally fair to the R&A because they've done a lot of things great this championship,'' Mickelson said. ''The fairway width is a very fair width to get the ball in play. The rough is difficult and challenging, but it's not over the top. It's very fair in spots.''
Mickelson said a day earlier that some of the greens were unfair because of the speed of the course and the pin positions.
''For me to single out just a few sketchy pin placements and not give them credit for all the good things they've done was not fair,'' he said.
TOO YOUNG?: Jordan Spieth's win at the John Deere Classic last weekend made him the youngest player to win on the PGA Tour since 1931. The 19-year-old was making a serious bid to become the youngest British Open Championship since 1868 - until he got reckless Friday over the four closing holes.
Spieth made just two bogeys in his first 32 holes to reach 3 under and stake out a spot near the top of the leaderboard. Then he went double bogey at No. 15, bogey at Nos. 16 and 17, and closed on a sour note by missing a 4-foot birdie putt at the last hole. Despite the 3-over 74, he was still in contention at 143 heading into the final two rounds.
''Yesterday I was, for some reason, extremely patient with just taking my 30-footers and just trying to give myself tap-ins and not worrying about making birdies,'' Spieth said. ''Today I got to a point where I finally had enough and wanted to really hit it closer.
''And that,'' he added, referring to his closing stretch, ''is what happens when you try.''
TOO OLD?: Making rash decisions on the course is rarely a problem for Mark O'Meara and Tom Lehman.
The two former British Open winners, 56 and 54, respectively, parlayed experience into scintillating opening rounds. Friday, though, was a different story.
O'Meara, the 1998 winner at Royal Birkdale, followed up his 67 with a 78; Lehman, who won at Royal Lytham in 1996, followed his 68 with a 77.
''I just played pretty poorly, to be honest with you,'' O'Meara said. ''Bogeying the last two holes didn't help.''
''Really ugly golf,'' Lehman said. ''From the beginning to the end, just seems like I got progressively worse.''
Lehman added ''there's an element of patience that really suits that kind of course we had yesterday.''
But he also conceded giving away yards and years to the rest of the field made winning tougher as the tournament stretched on.
''I think the good rounds are as good, but the bad rounds, you don't hit it as far or bring more of those bunkers into play or start to miss it a little bit. Bunkers that are out of play for the younger guys are in play for me. You kind of get it. Today is a good example.''
If either golfer rallies on the weekend, he could become the oldest ever to win a major. Julius Boros, who was 48 when he won the PGA Championship in 1968, holds that distinction.