Rory McIlroy finishes at 12 over

GULLANE, Scotland -- Rory McIlroy shot his worst 36-hole score at a major championship and missed the cut by four shots Friday at the Open Championship.

Given his opening-round 8-over 79, it wasn't a surprise, although McIlroy could have survived to the weekend if he had managed an even-par 71 at Muirfield. But he quickly was over par and ended up shooting a 75 to finish at 12 over.

"I'm disappointed, but I guess I have a clearer picture of what I need to work on and what I need to do to put things right," said the 24-year-old McIlroy, ranked No. 2 in the world. "Sometimes this game can feel further away than it actually is. And obviously at the end of yesterday it couldn't have felt much further away.

"But today you played the last 11 holes [even par] like that, you see some positive signs. And you try and sort of taking anything you can from that."

McIlroy has a busy stretch upcoming. In two weeks, he plays the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational followed by his defense of the PGA Championship. Two weeks later, the FedEx Cup playoffs begin.

"I'm looking forward to playing golf and playing tournaments and getting into a run of events," he said. "I think playing a bit more golf will definitely help. Because it's more of a scoring issue. I don't want to say I wasn't sharp coming in here, but a couple of weeks off, you get on that first tee again on Thursday and it feels a little different than when you've been practicing for two weeks. So I'm looking forward to the next round of events coming up. It should be good to get some more competitive play and see how that goes."

The cut came at 8-over 150, the highest at an Open Championship since 1972 at Muirfield, when it was 10 over.

Some 84 players advanced to the weekend this time. Among those who failed to make the cut were U.S. Open champion Justin Rose (75-77), Nick Watney (75-77), 1989 Open champ Mark Calcavecchia (72-80), five-time Open champ Tom Watson (75-78), Vijay Singh (77-77) and six-time major champion Nick Faldo (79-78), likely playing for the last time competitively.