There is an area behind the scenes at the Open, always near to the recorder’s hut, that they call the ‘Mixed Zone’.

This is where the press pack quiz golfers after their round.

At lunchtime today it was a mixed emotions zone, as a buzzing pack of British press threw questions at a buoyant and confident Lee Westwood, who had flirted with the second round lead this morning at Muirfield, while just a few paces away stood Luke Donald, talking to a much more select group of reporters, and in an altogether different mood than his Ryder Cup teammate and compatriot.

Donald had just signed for a second round of 72, one over par, which is perfectly respectable in these testing, hard-baked conditions, but the score left the former world number one on a 36-hole score of 152, 10 over par, after a disastrous 80 in the first round derailed Donald’s Open challenge almost the moment it had begun.

The cut mark is not confirmed at the time of writing, but it won’t be that high.

Another major opportunity has passed for Donald, 35, a golfer yet to win one of the big four, and it hurts.

“I didn’t have my game this week and it is disappointing,” said Donald, who finished tied third in the 2005 Masters and 2006 PGA Championship, but has not reached such major heights since.

“The majors are a test of how you can control your ball flight, trajectory and line, and I am not quite achieving that yet. I have too many swing thoughts still, and when you are thinking about something in your swing it is hard to hit the shots.

“I am working hard on my swing, trying to make it a little better, but maybe I am putting too much thought into it on the golf course.

Sometimes the work can backfire. Everything in my game has not quite been sharp this year for some reason. I don’t know why.

I don’t know what to put it down to. It’s just golf.”

While Donald’s golf this week has been far from out of this world, his sentiments will resonate far and wide, among professionals and amateurs alike.

Robin Barwick travelled to Muirfield with Mercedes-Benz, Official Patron of the Open Championship and a partner of three Major championships.