A frustrated Rory McIlroy became an Open Championship also-ran today, falling to five over par with a third-round 73.
After eight birdies in his first 25 holes at Royal Lytham the world number three has had only one in his last 29.
"I got off to a bad start and couldn't really do much from there," said McIlroy, who had already dropped four shots by the time his only birdie of the day came on the 336-yard 16th.
The 23-year-old came into the week having missed four of his last six halfway cuts, but with top-10 finishes in the other two.
"Just lack of consistency with my swing," McIlroy said when asked what the problem was. "Whenever you're not confident in the shots that you're trying to hit then it is tough to sort of trust it.
"I was up for it this morning trying to go out there and post a good score, but after playing the front nine like I did you're just trying to shoot the best score you can. And for me today that was only a 73."
McIlroy added: "I'm frustrated, but that's the way it is - that's golf. You just have to get on with it and keep trying and keep practising and stay patient until it turns around.
"It was good and then all of a sudden I just started not to really trust it yesterday. It just sort of spiralled from there.
"To be honest I'm getting used to it. The last few weeks haven't been so great.
"Every tournament or every major that you don't play well in or you don't win is a chance missed."
Playing with Dubliner Padraig Harrington for the first time in a major - they had not played a tournament together until Memphis last month - McIlroy's slide on the day started when he three-putted the fourth.
He then failed to get up and down from short of the next, rolled off the green at the eighth and could not get up and down either at the short 12th.
Harrington, meanwhile, remained two over after two birdies and two bogeys, including one on the last after he had driven into a bunker.
"The 70 was a steal - and 69 would have been a miracle. I was really at sixes and sevens with my game.
"It was a big struggle. I didn't show much trust, faith or confidence in anything out there, so it was nice that my short game saved me.
"The first two rounds I just didn't hit my wedges very well. I was sorting that problem out and it certainly got in my head.
"I wasn't settling on any good thoughts."
On McIlroy he added: "At the end of the day Rory was looking for a fast start and he didn't get it.
"Things went against him. It's not much fun when you're two or three over par and you're looking to be four, five, six under."
Harrington now has only a slim chance of qualifying for the Bridgestone world championship in a fortnight.
He intends playing a smaller event in Nevada instead if need be as he strives to earn a seventh Ryder Cup cap.
The 40-year-old does have the USPGA Championship the following week - that was where the last of his three majors came in 2008 - but, contrary to what he thought, cup points are not on offer at the first of the FedEx Cup play-offs in the last week of August and that makes it more likely that he will need a wild card again.