From Brian Keogh in Detroit
Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke suffered the Motown blues in the second round of the US PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.
As Clarke’s Ryder Cup hopes suffered a massive blow when he crashed to a 76 to miss the cut on 11 over par, double Open champion Harrington needs a miracle to win his third major after finishing on five over par after a 74.
The Dubliner, 36, confessed that he was mentally shattered after his exploits at Royal Birkdale less than three weeks ago.
And while he hopes that he can string together a couple of decent weekend rounds, he opted to head for bed to recharge his batteries rather than the practice ground.
“I just ran out of steam. It was a struggle for me,” said Harrington, who carded three birdies and seven bogeys in a nightmare round that could have been even worse.
Five of those bogeys came in Harrington’s last seven holes and he admitted that his mind was racing as he battled to keep his concentration on the course they call The Monster.
He said: “I did my best to be ready for the week but clearly I'm not. What can I say. The harder I tried the worse it got.
“I haven't got the focus this week. I'm just not with it. Obviously I'm still just having a hangover after winning The Open.
“I'm quite happy with the consequences of winning The Open if this is it. I realize that it takes a lot to come back and try and perform in a Major two weeks after winning one. Maybe they're a bit too close.
“I had a plan in my mind about practicing a couple different things this afternoon. But I think I need to spend 24 hours in bed now.”
Harrington started at the 10th and birdied from 20 feet to get back to level for the tournament before his game fell apart in front of his eyes.
After a bogey at the 11th, he dropped another shot when he failed to get up and down from sand at the 238-yard 17th. And while he birdied the short par four first from five feet, he wasn’t at the races after that.
He failed to birdie the par-five second from just off the green and bogeys at the third (three putts), fourth (bad drive) and fifth (bad drive) left him shellshocked.
Even a birdie at the 300-yard sixth, where he almost drove the green, was only a temporary respite and the followed up hitting wild tee shots at the eighth and ninth to finish the day with a pair of bogeys and slide six shots adrift of clubhouse leader JB Holmes (68).
Harrington explained: “I hit it all over the place after the three putt on the third. There was no ability to make my shots or make anything happen.
“I kept changing my mind mid swing and that's why I hit some really bad shots at the end. I've seen it before, I've done it before. Maybe I'll be better tomorrow. Who knows."
As Justin Rose boosted his Ryder Cup chances with a 67 that left him just a shot off the lead on level par, Ulsterman Clarke made an early exit on 11 over par.
And the confessed that while he didn’t play badly, it would be asking a lot for European Ryder Cup skipper Nick Faldo to hand him a captain’s pick.
Needing stellar performances now in the KLM Open and the Johnnie Walker Classic to justify a wildcard, Clarke said: “Would I pick me? At the moment, probably not unless I do something pretty good in those last couple of tournaments. That is a realistic and honest view, at the moment I probably wouldn’t.
"It didn’t feel as if I played that badly at all but that is Major Championship golf, it’s on the edge between getting good results and bad results and unfortunately things didn’t go my way.
"I had a cold putter all week and everybody is going to make mistakes around here and you have to make those five or six footers to make par."
Clarke turns 40 next Thursday and 2006 US Ryder Cup skipper Tom Lehman still believes he has a lot to offer the European side.
After playing with Clarke for the first two rounds and outscoring him by seven shots, Lehman said: “ If I was in Nick Faldo's shoes I wouldn't even think twice about picking him.
“His game is really good and he is rolling it beautifully and hitting it really solid. I thought he played way better than I did.
"Part of the Ryder Cup is history and pairings and the whole friendship thing and Darren brings a lot more to the table than just a good golf game.
"He got unlucky for two days but especially today. It became a bit of a running joke throughout the day. How broad are your shoulders. He kept getting what I considered to be unfortunate bounces and bad bounces. Bad breaks.”
Clarke’s tournament ended when he took a triple bogey seven at his ninth hole of the day, the 18th, to go eight over for the championship.
He explained: "I didn’t think I played that badly at all this week, far from it, far from it. I was level par through seven holes and then made a triple bogey seven on 18 from nowhere.
"Flushed my tee shot, flushed my second shot and it plugged in the bunker and I couldn’t get it out. Then the third I hit it a little too hard and it went over the back of the green and made seven. Made seven from nowhere. My game is okay but my scores don’t reflect that. But the game’s okay.
“Would I pick myself at the moment? I would struggle to pick myself at the moment. But if I play well in those last couple of weeks and he (Nick) was to pick me then great. But I have to play well. That is the bottom line and if I don’t I will be watching like everyone else.”