2012 British Open losers: 5 players who didn't help themselves

Five players whose British Open experience didn't play out like they had hoped. (Getty Images)

We're heading to the weekend at the 2012 British Open. Some of us are, anyway. Here are the losers after 36 holes at Royal Lytham. (You can check out the winners here.)

Phil Mickelson

We're just hours removed from the conclusion of the second round of the 2012 British Open and Mickelson's troubles have already been well documented. He called his performance "terrible," which might be underselling it a bit. His back-nine 41 on Friday -- which included 17 strokes over a three-hole stretch -- sealed his fate. To be fair, Lefty's struggled in this event (though he managed a second-place finish in 2011), which has also been the case since a T-3 at the Masters in April. In the seven starts since, he has one top-10 finish (Byron Nelson), two missed cuts, a WD, and no finish higher than T-25.

Sergio Garcia

Watching Garcia you sometimes get the sense that he hates his job in much the same way that the guy behind the counter at the convenient store is waiting for something better to come along. Garcia remains one of the most talented player on Tour. Unfortunately, he has all the mental toughness of Shaquille O'Neal at the charity stripe with the game on the line. He had plenty of opportunities to play the weekend at Royal Lytham but, in typical Sergio fashion, he couldn't get out of his own way. Usually, the "maybe he should take a break from the game" suggestion is more cop-out than therapeutic remedy, but after watching Garcia frump his way around the course, he really could use an extended vacation to figure out exactly what he wants to accomplish in this line of work.

Steven Tiley

No one knew Tiley before Friday afternoon and many people probably still have no idea who he is. As he made his way to the clubhouse in Round 2, Tiley was at 2-over, which meant that the cutline hovered at 3-over. He was kind enough to pick up a bogey on No. 14 (moving the cutline to 4-over). Regrettably, he did it again on No. 15, which put him on the wrong side of said cutline and now he's headed home.

Paul Casey

We've previously mentioned countryman Lee Westwood as a top candidate for "best player yet to win a major," but Casey, when healthy, is certainly on that list too. But in true Mickelson-ian fashion, Casey didn't have a chance ar Royal Lytham. He followed up a respectable Thursday round of 72 with a 79 prompting the BBC to go with this headline: "Paul Casey crashes out of Open." Understated, we know. Unlike Phil, at least Casey has an excuse: he's battled injuries and made just five starts on the PGA Tour in 2012 (a T51, three missed cuts, and a WD). "Yes, the shoulder has damaged my golf, but I feel good physically and mentally," Casey admitted recently to Press Association Sport. "In a way, though, this is an opportunity. I'm doing a lot of learning about my swing. I'm also being incredibly thorough and not leaving any stone unturned." The search continues…

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy made the cut at 2-over but squandered a solid opening-round 67 with an indifferent 75 in Round 2. The 2011 U.S. Open champion conceded after Friday's round that he lost his focus at times. "I wasn't committing to my tee shots and I was in two minds a few times about what shots to hit off the tees," he said. "That's something I'll need to improve on tomorrow, just really commit to it and try to get the ball on the fairway." McIlroy's young and seemingly impervious to the white-hot media glare, even when he's off his game. But while it's easy to say that he has plenty of time to stock up on major championship hardware, we used to proclaim such things about Sergio. The takeaway: don't squander these opportunities because they're hard to come by, even for the best in the world.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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