It was near the end of his round Friday, and Jason Day's fate had been sealed.
Asked about McIlroy and Day also missing the cut, last year's champion Johnson said putting was the difference.
Given the wayward shots coming from Day's clubs, it was not a hard task.
"I'm playing the weekend".
Pardon the gallows humor. Day never got going, shooting rounds of 79 (including two triple bogeys) and 75 to fall nine shots short of making the cut.
McIlroy, the reigning FedExCup champ, fared slightly better. On typical U.S. Open greens, that would have run all the way off the back of the green. The Japanese star began the day at 2-over par and is now 5-under and just two shots back of the lead. "Then three-putt the next two holes".
"If you look at the golf course and even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up ideal for us", Johnson said. But you never really know until you put a card in your hand and you're under the gun little bit. Back problems also contributed to an early exit at the Masters when Willett became the first defending champion since Canadian Mike Weir in 2004 to miss the cut. Then he stumbled a bit in his next three starts on the PGA Tour.
Rory Mcilroy, of Ireland, makes his way to the 12th hole during the.
"Show up for the last six holes, anyway", McIlroy said.
Just not guys with a whole lot of name recognition. "I got in a hazard on one". "It's one of the hardest tests of golf we get through the year", Fowler said.
"I saw some positives there on the back nine coming in and hopefully I can take them to the Travelers (Championship) next week".More news: Larson, Truex take top 2 spots in Michigan qualifying
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After Thursday's round, McIlroy and his coach Michael Bannon discussed his swing issues. "If you read my post, it says I love the design". "You play 54 holes around here before the tournament, I felt really really comfortable". So there's a very good chance this weekend that the run of first-time major winners dating to the 2015 PGA (Jason Day) will extend to seven.
Johnson blamed a failure to generate anything with his putter for his woes. One example of that was Fowler hitting 3-wood into the green on the 632-yard 18th hole, with a breeze at his back.
I guess it's [rare] you get through a U.S. Open or any major without some kind of hiccup. "I just didn't hit it into them". This is his third try at the U.S. Open and the first time he has made the cut.
At Erin Hills, all Johnson could do was go down swinging on a Friday. "I wasn't thinking too much about 8 under", he said through an interpreter.
Under clear skies and warm sunshine, the Erin Hills course still offered plenty of encouragement after a day of record low-scoring on Thursday. It should be noted that Hideki Matsuyama and Chez Reavie shot impressive 65s on Friday.
"It was definitely a lot more like a US Open today than yesterday the greens were a little quicker again", Leishman said. "But I'm a pretty happy man". "They're the widest fairways we've ever played in a US Open".
"The biggest thing about this course is that the fairways are massive".
"If you look at the golf course and you even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up ideal for us", he said. "It's just a matter of getting it out of me and getting myself in the right frame of mind".
"Being out of position off the tee does not help", he said. "The execution was not there".
With the afternoon wave several hours away, the early projected cut-line for the top 60 players and ties is one-over.
"I enjoyed the walk", he said.