ERIN, Wis. -- Erin Hills has been a puzzle this week. More for those of us covering the event than anyone. On one hand, you have amateur Cameron Champ at 5 under on the leaderboard and tied with first-time major participant Xander Schauffele.

On the other, the top three ranked players in the world -- respectively Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day -- all missed the cut. And they missed it badly. Day shot 79-75 to miss the cut by nine strokes. McIlroy shot 78-71 (with birdies at four of his last six holes) to miss it by four. Johnson shot 75-73 to miss it by three.

And we now have a first on our hands as the top three in the Official World Golf Rankings will miss the cut at a major for the first time since the rankings began in 1986.

McIlroy and Day didn't exactly come streaking into the event, but you would expect two of the top three golfers on the planet to at least make it to the weekend. McIlroy was coming in off a rib injury that has limited him to just one tournament (The Players Championship) since the Masters.

"I think just in practice I was really, really good, and I just wasn't able to translate that on to the golf course," said McIlroy. "You play 54 holes around here before the golf tournament, I felt really, really comfortable. I drove the ball well, my irons were good. Everything was in good shape. 

"But you never really know until you put a card in your hand and you're under the gun little bit. And some of the weaknesses and flaws that are in my game at the minute showed up over the last couple of days. It's good to see those and see what needs to be worked on."

McIlroy didn't seem super disappointed by his performance given how little he's actually played.

"Even though it's very disappointing to not be here on the weekend, but I think these last two rounds will serve me well going into the summer," said McIlroy, who will play next week at the Travelers Championship.

Day, who also felt like he prepared well, has played a little more than McIlroy but not all that great so far in 2017. He has just two top 10s on the season.

"I said yesterday it's been the best preparation going into a major, I felt like, in my career," said Day on Friday. "Unfortunately, I got off to a great start yesterday ... I was in the hay too much over the last couple of days. Actually, the stats yesterday, I think I hit like 12 greens, but I made two triples amongst that."

The two combined to hit just 33-of-56 fairways (just under 60 percent). That's not going to get it done (to say the least) on a course like Erin Hills. Still, McIlroy said he thinks this golf course will produce a worthy champion.

"The golf course is great, it really is," said McIlroy. "I'm a big fan of this place. It's a big, big golf course, with long rough and all that stuff, but it lets you play. It lets you be aggressive, you can get on runs where you can make birdies. 

"Not your typical U.S. Open setup. But I'm a big fan. I think it's going to produce a really good winner at the end of the week. And, yeah, if it plays like this, it should be. Looking forward to how it unfolds over the weekend."

Johnson agreed with him.

"I really like this golf course. It sets up really well for me, especially if I'm driving it like I did today," he said on Friday. "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."

He's right about that. When Dustin Johnson hits 12-of-14 fairways, he's not supposed to shoot over par like he did on Friday.

"If you look at the golf course and you even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up perfect for us," said Johnson. "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."