US Open GolfRory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, lines up a putt on the second hole during the third round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament Saturday, June 15, 2019, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
For three players with seven major titles between them, Moving Day at the U.S. Open came and went with barely a ripple — sidetracked by balky putters that couldn't bail them out of errors they made from the fairways.
Spieth shot 2-over 73 and fell to 1 over for the tournament, 12 back of leader Gary Woodland.
Johnson shot even to stay at 2 under.
McIlory opened the day in a tie for fourth but shot 70 to fall to sixth, five shots off the lead at 6 under.
"I just didn't make anything," Spieth said after a round that included 28 putts, good for 33rd in the 79-man field. "I hit really nice putts, and then they just didn't go in today. It was actually the best I've hit it in quite a while."
A few of Spieth's misses — like the birdie attempts on a 10-footer on No. 4 and an 18-footer on No. 8 — he thought he'd hit perfectly, only to see them slide off at the last second.
"You're looking to shoot 5- or 6-under in a round like that," he said. "I pulled the wrong club on 11, and other than that, I didn't make anything."
About that wrong club — there was no video replay of the exchange between Spieth and his caddie, Michael Greller, but Spieth blamed him for giving him the wrong club Thursday, leading to a ball in the ocean, then over the green on No. 8, en route to a double bogey.
This time, the wrong club led to double bogey on 11, which put Spieth at 2 over for the round.
Meanwhile, Johnson needed 29 putts.
Had any of his five attempts from inside of 15 feet — including an eagle try on 6 and birdie tries on 10 and 13 — gone in, this could've been a different day for the 2016 U.S. Open champ.
Farther up the scoreboard, McIlroy's chances of going low were pretty much squandered after he played the first seven holes — prime scoring territory at Pebble Beach — at even par, sandwiching five pars between an opening bogey and a birdie on the 98-yard seventh.
McIlroy, who needed 29 putts, lost ground to Woodland (11 under), Brooks Koepka (7 under) and Rose (10 under), watched Chez Reavie (7 under) pass him and stayed a shot behind Louis Oosthuizen (7 under).
Still in the mix, for sure, which made him glad he didn't press too hard early and gave himself a chance on Sunday.
"You can't put yourself under pressure to have a crack at those holes," he said. "You've just got to let it happen."