Justin Rose, leader of the European Ryder Cup table when he won the Volvo Masters in November, has dropped to No 10 in the table after his dismal Open showing.
Last season's Order of Merit winner returned to Birkdale, scene of his stupendous fourth-place finish as a 17-year-old amateur a decade ago, fifth on the table. But a Saturday 82, his worst ever Open round, was followed by a 73 to leave him down in 70th spot on 21 over.
And because of the cup system – five off a world ranking list, five off a European money list – he will now need a wild card from captain Nick Faldo if he slips further in the next month. "You never know if it's £1,000 or £100,000 you get in by, so you've just got to dig in deep," he said.
Rose finished his Birkdale comeback not with a pitch into the hole and a huge roar from a packed grandstand like in 1998, but with a sense of bitter disappointment amid hundreds of empty seats. His 82 had put him into the second group of the day at 7.20am and the leaders had not even arrived at the course as he departed.
What Rose wanted on returning was not to walk down memory lane but to march to his first major title, yet it did not happen.
"I had a magical week last time, but it's not a magical place for me and it's been disappointing," he said. "I didn't feel a sense of burden and I felt in good shape mentally, but with the conditions it was easy for the week to get away from you and yesterday that's what happened."