ERIN, Wis. -- Defending champion and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson missed the cut at the U.S. Open on Friday, and he will join several of golf's headliners with a weekend off.
Johnson, who won at Oakmont a year ago and added another five victories in the past 11 months, played the closing six holes at Erin Hills in 3-over par to miss the 36-hole cut by three strokes.
"I really like this golf course; it sets up really well for me, especially if I'm driving it like I did today,'' said Johnson, who shot 73 along with a first-round 75 to finish at 148. "I couldn't have shot any higher. I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did. I just struggled on the greens. It's simple.''
Johnson has missed just four PGA Tour cuts in the past 23 months -- dating back to the 2016 PGA Championship -- but it's now two straight since the Memorial two weeks ago and this week at the U.S. Open.
There were 68 players who made the U.S. Open cut at 145, 1 over par. The top 60 and ties qualify for the final 36 holes.
Also missing the weekend were No. 2 Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Jason Day, who played together for the first two rounds to disastrous results. Neither player came close to making the cut, and for the first time since the Official World Golf Ranking system began in 1986, the top three players in the world have been eliminated after 36 holes of a major championship.
"If you look at the golf course and you even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up perfect for us,'' Johnson said. "But as we all know, this game's all about putting. So it's pretty simple: I just didn't get it in the hole fast enough.
"It's just golf. It's frustrating. But I don't let it bother me. I feel like the golf game is there. I feel like I'm playing good. You know, I've got four weeks off now. I'm looking forward to it very much. I'll work on the game a little bit, and I'll be ready to play at the British.''
Johnson, whose fiancée, Paulina Gretzky, gave birth to the couple's second child on Monday, said he would head home and work on his game over the coming weeks. He won't play again until The Open at Royal Birkdale next month.
Danny Willett, the Masters champion in 2016, withdrew before the start of the second round with a back injury. He opened Thursday with a 9-over 81.
McIlroy and Day needed low rounds to have any chance of advancing to the weekend, and neither was able to produce anything near what was necessary. McIlroy was 4 shots off the cut line and Day a whopping 9 shots removed.
Both players liked the course but put their performance down to a lack of execution.
"I'm a big fan,'' McIlroy said. "It's a big golf course with lots of rough, but it lets you play.''
McIlroy put most of his difficulties down to his lack of competitive golf. He twice has been sidelined this year due to a rib injury, and he had played just the Players Championship since the Masters.
"I need to get competitive rounds, a card in my hand,'' he said. "I was a little anxious starting out yesterday, and it caught up to me. I'm just excited to get a few rounds and start playing again.''
McIlroy has a hectic schedule again. He's playing the Travelers Championship next week, then after a week off heads to the Irish Open, the Scottish Open and The Open in consecutive weeks. After another week, it's the WGC-Bridgestone and PGA Championship.
That's eight of the next 10 weeks after just seven starts in 2017.
Day arrived at Erin Hills a week ago and felt "I put in the best preparation for any major in my career,'' he said. But he missed his first cut at a major since the 2012 PGA Championship.
"I put it in the wrong places," he said. "I enjoyed the walk, the golf course is beautiful, but I just didn't execute.''
McIlroy followed an opening-round 78 with a 71. He now is a combined 43 over par in 18 U.S. Open rounds since winning the tournament at Congressional in 2011.
Day added a 75 to his first-round 79, which included two triple-bogeys. His total of 154 equaled his worse two-round total at a major, matching his first two rounds at The Open in 2013.