Matt Every misses cut after leading first round at Arnold Palmer Invitational

Matt Every misses cut after leading first round at Arnold Palmer Invitational

ORLANDO, Fla. — Want to know what golf can do to the psyche of even the best players in the world?

It can mess them up just like it messes up the rest of us who spend so much time chasing answers to the game’s most pressing questions.

Matt Every took the lead into Friday’s second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational after shooting a bogey-free 7-under 65 on Thursday at Bay Hill. He followed that sterling performance with an 11-over 83 on Friday and missed the cut.

His previous tournament, last week’s Honda Classic, ended with a second-round 85 as he missed the cut by miles.

So, to review: Every has gone 85, 65, 83 in his past three tournament rounds.

That’s enough to send someone to the nearest dispensary for some cannabis to sooth the nerves, something Every has been public about using to combat anxiety, and something that has gotten him suspended twice by the PGA Tour — most recently from November to January.

After Friday’s round, Every was left almost speechless, though he deserves to be commended for taking the time to stop and talk at all considering how difficult his day was, with four double bogeys and four bogeys on his card.

“I just played bad,’’ Every said. “Today was rough. It was just tough. It was just a bad day.’’

He said he doesn’t buy into the fact that there was a trend forming with second-round struggles considering his 85 last Friday and the 83 this Friday.

“No, there’s nothing about second rounds,’’ he insisted. “Last week I sucked the whole week. Today was just kind of a gradual sucking all day. But it happens. It just happens to me … it kind of happens to me quite a lot.’’

Every had waxed philosophic Thursday evening after his 65, warning himself and anyone who would listen not to read too much into his near-perfect round as if it were the beginning of some sort of hot streak.

“It’s going to be all right either way no matter what I shoot [Friday],’’ he said. “But I think I’m going to be all right this week. I’m hitting it really good. We’ll see. It’s only Thursday though, I know, and there’s a lot of golf left.’’

Unfortunately — and stunningly — there is none left this week for him at Bay Hill.

And Bay Hill has been very good to Every. He has two PGA Tour victories in his career and both came in the Arnold Palmer Invitational — in 2014 and 2015. Of his $10.2 million career earnings, $2.3 million of it has come from this event.

But he also now has four missed cuts and a tie for 62nd in his five starts since the 2015 win.

Asked what he thought “the biggest difference’’ between the Thursday and Friday rounds was, Every said, “I don’t know. If I did, I wouldn’t do it.’’

Asked whether he’ll play Valspar in two weeks, Every said: “I’m not sure yet. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I might take some time off after [The Players Championship].’’

This was quite an about-face after the 65 on Thursday had buoyed his confidence.

“It stinks for me because I really wanted to play well and I really didn’t see this coming, to be honest,’’ Every said Friday.

The previous evening, his words proved to be eerily prescient.

“I always feel like my good stuff has been really, really good,’’ he said. “There’s just no middle ground with me, though. That’s the problem. It’s like, either ragged or really good. I don’t know if I’ll ever be like ‘Mr. Consistent’ out here. I don’t know if I have that in me. I don’t know if I have the mental makeup to do that. It’s just not really who I am. But … I feel good about my game right now.’’

That, of course, proved to be short-lived.

“It’s crazy how much this game can affect like your life … or not your life, but just maybe your mindset or whatever,’’ he said. “My short-term memory isn’t very good, so that is a strength sometimes.’’

That’s a strength Every will need to lean on more than ever at the moment.

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