Darren Clarke didn’t make a birdie in 36 holes. Picutre: Fran Caffrey/www.golffile.ieGraeme McDowell and Darren Clarke had complete nightmares as they crashed out of the US PGA.

McDowell drove the ball badly, failed to deal with the bermuda rough and suffered indescribably in the soft bunkers as he added an eight over 78 to his opening 74 to miss the cut by eight shots on 12 over par.

But it was even worse for Open champion Clarke who failed to make even one birdie in 36 holes as he followed his first round 78 with a 76 for a 14 over nightmare.

After racking up three bogeys and three double bogeys, McDowell made no effort to hide his disappointment and another blow to his confidence in a season that has proved to be the polar opposite to the heady heights of his incredible 2010 campaign.

“The game is just kicking the s**t out of me right now but you kick on,” McDowell said bitterly.

The Portrush man could do no wrong in an unforgettable 2010 season that saw him emerge as the match-winning hero for Europe in the Ryder Cup and claim the US Open among four individual triumphs.

Fast forward less than eight months from his Chevron World Challenge victory over Tiger Woods and all shas changed for the moment at least. He’s had just one top-10 since March and reckons he’s got to go back to the drawing board with his game before the first FedEx Cup play-off event at The Barclays at the end of the month.

He knew from the start that he was going to find it tough to follow up on than amazing campaign and finally reached rock bottom on a scorching Atlanta afternoon.

McDowell said: “At some point you are going to hit a wall and I have hit a wall hard this year. I am certainly in a huge learning curve right now. And the way I am playing drains me.

Graeme McDowell believes it’s time to reassess his game. Picture by Fran Caffrey/www.golffile.ie“I have got to stay patient and keep working hard and there will be light at the end of the tunnel soon. But there wasn’t any light this week.

“I drove the ball horrendously again today. I have had the rights off the tee since the Irish Open and these bunkers are just unplayable.

“The ball is semi-plugged in every bunker you go into. My fairway bunker play wouldn’t be my strength at the best of times but out of these traps, they are just unplayable. I just can’t score.

“You have to drive the ball well here to have a chance and I didn’t do that so you are behind the eight-ball. I went chasing a little bit those last nine holes trying to fire at some pins and made a couple of numbers.”

Clarke was playing his seventh event on the trot and no plans to go on holiday and recharge. Insisting he will put his clubs away for at least 10 days, he hopes to be ready to compete again when the Ryder Cup qualifying campaign begins.

Dressed in black in 90 degree heat, Clarke said: “I am absolutely shattered. This is seven weeks in a row basically and I am done.

“I hit 25 out of 36 greens, I haven’t had a birdie in two rounds and I had 71 putts. I just had a nightmare.

“C’est la vie – my body needs a huge rest and it is going to get one. I will be back to play in Switzerland when I am ready.”