PONTE VEDRA BEACH —The cutline at the Players Championship was cruel to some of the game’s biggest stars, a reminder that there should be no guarantees of a paycheck at the highest levels.
Rory McIlroy, who has been an advocate of reduced field, no-cut designated events beginning in 2024, finished his second round on Saturday morning but will have the rest of the weekend off.
“Just very blah,” McIlroy said of his rounds of 76-73—149 at TPC Sawgrass. “Yeah, I guess the course, you just have to be really on to play well here. If you’re a little off, it definitely magnifies where you are off. It is, it’s a bit of an enigma. Some years I come here, and like it feels easier than others.”
Play was suspended on Friday afternoon due to inclement weather, and on Saturday morning the course played easier as the wind laid down and the greens softened. It made scoring easier but not enough to hold the cutline at 1 over. It moved back a stroke to 2-over 146, allowing 75 players in the 144-man field to continue in the trophy hunt. That included the following players who made it on the number: Shane Lowry, Tom Kim, Justin Thomas, Eric Cole, who eagled 16 to make it on the number, and 56-year-old PGA Tour Champions regular Jerry Kelly, who bogeyed his final hole to finish 2 over but it held up to become the oldest player to make the cut.
Playing the weekend @THEPLAYERSChamp ☘️ pic.twitter.com/ZPnEt1OmAm
— Shane Lowry (@ShaneLowryGolf) March 11, 2023
It also marks the end of Jon Rahm’s Tour-best streak of 25 straight made cuts. He withdrew from the tournament before the second round with a stomach ailment, snapping his streak. The new leader for most cuts made in a row is Xander Schauffele, who extended his streak to 18 this week.
Here are some of the other big names who left town empty-handed.
Fitzpatrick signed for a 76 on Thursday and made two birdies in his first four holes on Friday but only made one more birdie and two more bogeys, including at 18, to seal his fate.
Fitzpatrick hit an uncharacteristic 4 of 14 fairways in the first round (T-138) and he ranked 131st in Strokes Gained: Approach (-3.056) for the two days.
The reigning U.S. Open champ has now missed three of his last five cuts.
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