Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, arguably golf's two biggest stars sans Tiger Woods, just haven't seized the opportunity Woods inadvertantly provided them to assume the leading role on the PGA Tour.
Mickelson has missed cuts and played poorly on the weekends. McIlroy has dumped an awful round in the midst of a trio of good ones. They are, as Phil Mickelson said about himself after the first day of the Players Championship, "just not clicking."
McIlroy shot a decent 70 but it was up and down and left and right and all over the place.
Here's a look:
McIlroy even conceded that it was pretty average on a day when a lot of guys were going low.
"There are so many low scores out there," said McIlroy. "Seventy, I feel, is going to be pretty average by the end of the day."
He also opined about how good his round would have been if not for a poor seven-hole stretch.
Mickelson, on the other hand, would have posted a better score if not for a poor 18-hole stretch.
The big left-hander had four bogeys and just a single birdie on the day.
Now he'll have a lot of work to do just to make the cut on Friday. McIlroy should be safe when it comes to cutting time but Mickelson might not be.
And that's no way to take the reins from Tiger.