For the fourth time in five years, Rory McIlroy will not play the weekend at the Irish Open. After coming in as the defending champion, McIlroy shot 72-73 to finish four shots outside of the cut line. He was 14 shots back of leaders Benjamin Hebert and Daniel Im after the first two rounds at Portstewart Golf Club.

"I'm really disappointed," McIlroy said, who has only played three times since The Players Championship in May. "The last two times The Irish Open has been in Northern Ireland, not playing at the weekend, it's obviously not where I want to be."

McIlroy has missed cuts at Carton House, Fota Island, Royal County Down and Portstewart in the last five years. He won at the K Club last year.

"It's been a really frustrating year. Just hasn't really went the way I wanted it to. And yeah, it's been tough but I felt like I was playing well coming in here. I played a lot of links golf last week. I was shooting good scores. I was confident. Just when I needed to play well and shoot the scores that I was shooting last week, it just wasn't quite there."

McIlroy's issues (as they have been all year) came with his short game. In the days leading up to the Irish Open, which McIlroy hosts, he said he'd been playing a ton of links golf and felt great about his game.

"I don't feel like I'm that far away," McIlroy said, who remains one of the favorites for The Open Championship. "I really don't. It's ... a few putts dropping here or there. It's a few up-and-downs that I haven't been able to get the last couple of days. It's all that stuff that isn't so obvious.

"If I can do those things right and do the simple things right, I can hit a 5-iron from 220 yards and hit it in the middle of the green, but I can't get it up-and-down from 30 feet. So if I can do the simple things right, then it makes the game a lot easier. I just need to concentrate on that."

Given the fact that McIlroy missed the Irish Open cut in 2014 and went on to win The Open and PGA Championship later that summer (along with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational), it's probably not time to write him off. But a missed cut at the U.S. Open combined with this one isn't incredibly encouraging.

"I'm seeing really positive stuff in practice, and I'm seeing positive stuff when I'm out playing," added McIlroy. "Then just when I get into tournament situations, it's all there, but it's just about putting the pieces together, and I'm not able to put them together when I've been out on the golf course the last couple of days.

"I think it's really about staying patient. I don't feel like there's so much wrong. It's hard to say that because I just missed the cut and I'm 13 shots behind one of my playing partners (Jon Rahm). But it doesn't feel like it's that far away."

McIlroy will play the Scottish Open next week at Dundonald Links.