11 surprising players who missed the cut at the Open Championship 

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson on Friday ahead of his opening tee shot at Royal Liverpool.

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Let’s begin this positively, as this is a negative article. Let’s first look at a couple pros who barely did not miss the cut at the Open Championship

Like Scottie Scheffler. This was great. On the par-5 18th at Royal Liverpool, the World No. 1 was a stroke below the projected cutline, at four-over. After two shots, he was in a right greenside bunker, but had just 9 yards to work with. After three shots, he was just a foot away, and he birdied and he made the weekend. How? His third shot popped up off the bunker wall, then trickled to near tap-in range. To cap it off, Scheffler sheepishly saluted the crowd. 

Then there wasn’t Cameron Smith, the defending champ. This was great, too. His heroics also came on 18, and he also started the hole at four-over. Then he played the hole as such: 356-yard drive down the fairway; 232-yard second shot to 1 foot, 4 inches; eagle. And he’ll start the third round on Saturday at two-over. 

“Yeah, it was a good shot,” Smith said afterward. “I hit plenty of good shots today that didn’t get kind of that reward, so it was nice to finish off like that. I think given the circumstance, as well, probably an even better shot.”

With that, onto those who weren’t so good. 

Here are 11 surprising players who missed the cut at the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. 

11 surprising players who missed the cut at the Open Championship 

11. Tiger Christensen 

What he shot: 77, 74 (+9)

Surprising because: We don’t expect Tigers to miss cuts, right?

10. John Daly 

What he shot: 77, 77 (+12) 

Surprising because: OK, this is probably more unfortunate than surprising. Who wouldn’t want to see JD play 36 more? But he could manage only two birdies over his two rounds — though one came on his 36th and final hole. 

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9. Keegan Bradley 

What he shot: 70, 76 (+4)

Surprising because: Bradley, a two-time winner this season on the PGA Tour, opened with a one-under 70. But he made just one birdie on Friday and will miss the weekend. 

8. Sam Burns 

What he shot: 73, 75 (+6)

Surprising because: Burns has as much firepower as anyone in the field. But six bogeys and two double bogeys were too much to overcome. 

7. Tony Finau 

What he shot: 73, 75 (+6) 

Surprising: Much like Burns, Finau is explosive. And he was trending to make the cut — until playing his final 13 holes at five-over.

6. Shane Lowry

What he shot: 72, 77 (+7)

Surprising because: Liverpool seemed like a good fit for the 2019 champ. But he failed to make a birdie on Friday and was done. 

5. Talor Gooch 

What he shot: 74, 75 (+7)

Surprising because: No one has been hotter this year on the LIV Golf tour. But eight bogeys and two double bogeys did him in. 

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4. Phil Mickelson 

What he shot: 77, 74 (+9)

Surprising because: Lefty actually ranked near the top of the field in Strokes Gained: Approach. It’s just that everything else was poor. His seven birdies were negated by nine bogeys, two double bogeys and one triple bogey. 

3. Collin Morikawa 

What he shot: 73, 73 (+4) 

Surprising because: This marks a second-straight Open Championship missed cut for the 2021 champ. He was three-over through his first 14 holes on Friday and couldn’t rally. 

2. Justin Thomas 

What he shot: 82, 71 (+11)

Surprising because: He improved by 11 shots on Friday — of course, that implies that there had been a disaster, and Thursday was that. The 82 is the worst score he has shot in a major, and the missed cut extends a disappointing run of form.  

1. Dustin Johnson

What he shot: 74, 81 (+13)

Surprising because: Few are more talented than DJ. But only one player shot worse than him on Friday. A 10-over 81 — with two double bogeys and six bogeys — was stunning.   

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.