After third straight missed cut, it’s time to start worrying about Rory McIlroy

Follow Jonathan Wall on Twitter at @jonathanrwall.

OK, now you can press the panic button. One day after Rory McIlroy managed to grind out a 1-under 71 to stay in the hunt at the Memorial, the wheels came completely off on Friday during a 7-over 79 round that saw the 23-year-old miss his third straight cut.

Understand this: Even the best players in the world are entitled to an off week from time to time. But three consecutive off weeks? No doubt about it, Rory McIlroy's game is in a full-blown tailspin ... and it doesn't look like he'll be getting out of it anytime soon.

For the second time in his last three round -- he posted 7-over 79 during the second round of last week's BMW PGA Championship -- McIlroy looked completely lost on the course, chunking wedges, blowing drives into the trees and missing makable putts. He also failed to record a single birdie on Friday for only the second time in his professional career.

McIlroy may be the second-ranked golfer in the world, but he sure as heck isn't playing like it at the moment. There's no way this is the same kid who earlier in the year managed to become the second-youngest golfer to take over the top spot in the world rankings.

[Eric Adelson: Rory McIlroy needs focus to be hailed 'next Tiger']

McIlroy isn't one to panic, but based on the numbers he's been putting up recently, he has reason to be very concerned with his U.S. Open title defense on the horizon. With his game in complete disarray, he now has one final shot to fix everything (including his sagging confidence) at the FedEx St. Jude Classic -- a tournament he wasn't even going to play until things started to go south.

We'd like to say he'll get things sorted out before he steps foot on the grounds at Olympic Club, but based on the short amount of time he has, it's hard to believe he'll be able to find even a quick fix between now and then. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Sources: Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather nearly closed 50/50 deal in '10
Tim Brown: Johan Santana makes history in grueling 134-pitch epic
Michael Jordan didn't draft Adam Morrison, says Bobcats exec

What to Read Next