Rory McIlroy has missed the cut at the Irish Open for the fourth time in his last five appearances.
The four-time major winner, who won last year’s event at The K Club, shot a one-over-par 73 in the second round to finish one-over-par for the tournament and some four shots adrift of the cut line, continuing what he says has been a 'really frustrating' year.
“Look, I'm really disappointed,” he said. “The last two times the Irish Open has been in Northern Ireland I’ve not played the weekend and it's obviously not where I want to be.
“It's been a really frustrating year – just hasn't really went the way I wanted it to. 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.
“So it’s back to the drawing board and practice a bit and get ready for next week in Scotland.”
The Irish Open marked only McIlroy's ninth start of the 2017 season, which has been plagued by an ongoing rib/back injury sustained in his play-off loss to Graeme Storm at the BMW SA Open in January.
He spent six weeks on the sidelines, returning at the WGC-Mexico Championship in early March. He then played in the Arnold Palmer Invitional, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and the Masters before aggravating the injury slightly at the Players Championship.
That kept him out until the US Open, where he also missed the cut, before a T17 finish at the Travelers Championship two weeks ago.
McIlroy says next week's Scottish Open now takes on added importance as he searches for form heading into the Open.
"I think it does [become more important]," he added. "I'd like to get a good tournament under my belt going into Birkdale. I haven't played a lot and every time I go and play, I need to make the most of it.
"Unfortunately the last three outings since coming back from injury hasn't been quite that way. I just need to play a few more rounds and play a few more tournaments. I'm confident it will come together but I'm just trying to stay as patient as possible at the minute."