Geoff Ogilvy bemoaned a brutal golf course as his US Open defence fell well short at a punishing Oakmont.
Ogilvy won the US Open at Winged Foot last year
The 30-year-old Australian carded a closing five-over 75 for 19 over, 14 shots adrift of winner Angel Cabrera.
Ogilvy was frustrated with the deep bunkers which gathered drives off the firm, fast-running fairways.
"I miss the fairway by a yard and all I can do is chip out five yards," he said. "You can hit great drives but be in bad spots."
Ogilvy began with a fine opening round of one-over 71 but followed with 75, 78 and 75 and claimed the bunkering was too penal.
"We might as well just throw the ball out and add a shot," he said.
"You should get penalised for missing a shot, but I don't know if it should be as black and white as it is."
"If I didn't hit it into the fairway bunkers this week I would have been all right. I must have been in 25 of them. I don't think I advanced it more than 30 yards out of any of them, maybe twice. It's frustrating."
Other former champions also struggled. South African Ernie Els, who won the 1994 US Open at Oakmont, shot a 78 to finish 21 over.
New Zealand's Michael Campbell, the 2005 winner, ended 24 over and Masters champion Zach Johnson was 20 over.
Asked if he had learnt any lessons at Oakmont, Ogilvy said: "Learn how to hit straighter and quit practising fairway bunker shots and recovery shots because it really doesn't matter if you're good at them or not because you have no chance here."