Lee Westwood admitted that he has simply not played well enough at Royal Lytham & St Annes this week after seeing his slim Open hopes fade.
The world number three needed a low Saturday score to stand any chance of competing for the title on Sunday.
But, despite a run of four birdies in nine holes, he could only shoot a one-over 71 and finished on four over.
"You need all your game in shape to compete at an Open. And nothing's been good enough this week," he said.
"I came into the week not hitting the ball too well and carried on like that.
"My short game's not been great either and I've not holed enough putts.
"But I've just got to try to keep moving up the field."
Starting his third round on three over, having only just scraped into the weekend, Westwood stood on the seventh tee down at six over after dropping three shots in four holes.
But he then responded by picking up four birdies in nine holes to go to one under for his round, only to finish sloppily with dropped shots at 16 and 18.
"It wasn't quite going my way," he told BBC Sport. "But I dug in and made a few birdies before a poor finish. I hit it in a terrible place at 16. A schoolboy error. And then I three-putted 18 after I'd gone over the back chasing what was a tricky pin position."
Playing in his 18th Open, at the age of 39, Westwood visibly bristled at suggestions that the clock is now ticking in his bid to claim the elusive first major so many pundits and fans reckon he deserves.
But he can at least draw strength from his Saturday playing partner Tom Watson, who so memorably made it to an Open play-off at Turnberry in 2009, proving to Westwood that he could still have many good years left ahead of him.
"I've played a quite bit with Tom at majors," said Westwood. "And we talked a lot.
"Most recently it was at the Masters in 2008 with Matteo Manassero, when he was 16 and I had to talk to Tom, as he did not have much in common with Matteo," quipped the Worksop golfer.
"But he's a pleasure to play with. He's a great ambassador for the sport, still hits the ball nicely and the crowds love him."