clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Pinehurst No. 2 reduces Shark to guppy
Norman among host of big names who miss the cut

PINEHURST, N.C. -- The Masters proved that Greg Norman's shoulder is strong enough for him to compete with the best golfers in the world. The U.S. Open showed his head still needs some work.

Thoroughly uninspired by the majestic beauty of Pinehurst No. 2, Norman failed to make the cut Friday after shooting an 8-over 78 in the second round, leaving him with an 11-over 151 total.Although the Shark had played sparingly since his third-place finish at the Masters, his level of play during two days in North Carolina was shockingly inept. He started off with a 73 and hit just two of 18 greens in the second round.

"It was ugly today," Norman said after cleaning out his locker. "It's a bit of a horror story for me right now."

Among the other notables who will get to watch the final two rounds of the tournament on television are Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal, two-time Open champion Ernie Els, Fred Couples, Mark O'Meara, Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus, making his 43rd consecutive Open appearance.

Norman, who played only three tournaments in 1988 before undergoing shoulder surgery, came through with a stirring performance at Augusta National in early April. He was tied for the lead with five holes remaining before fading to three shots behind Olazabal.

The Australian had played only three tournaments since the Masters for a top finish of 68th. It was hardly the kind of preparation he needed for the challenging conditions at Pinehurst.

"It's not really a physical thing for me," said Norman, a cumulative 25 over in his last four Open rounds, also missing the cut in 1997. "I guess I'd like to work on my head a little bit. I need to get fired up about playing again."

The most painful departures belonged to Olazabal, Els, Faldo and Scott Hoch.

Spaniard Olazabal angrily punched a hotel wall Thursday night after an opening-round 75, breaking a bone in his right hand. He was forced to withdraw and will be sidelined up to four weeks.

"I did something I should not have," said Olazabal. "Now, I'm paying the price."

Els, who won the Open in 1994 and '97, made two double-bogeys during a round of 76, but still would have made the cut with a birdie on one of the last four holes. He missed a 25-foot putt at 16, an 18-footer at 17 and a 10-footer at 18 after a sparkling second shot, his knees buckling as the ball slid by the cup.

Faldo, a six-time major champion trapped in the worst slump of his career, has now missed the cut in six of his last 10 majors after consecutive rounds of 74 left him one shot short. The Englishman was 5 over with four holes remaining before three straight bogeys knocked him below the line that separates those who play and those who don't.