What Is the Cut in Golf and How It Is Decided Who Makes the Cut

What Is the Cut in Golf and How It Is Decided Who Makes the Cut

Many golf tournaments on the PGA Tour feature over 100 professionals participating. The event is played over a four-day span. After two days, the field usually has to be narrowed down.

The “cut” is what reduces the number of players heading into the weekend. In this article, we’ll explain how many players make the cut in golf and the rules at specific events.

How is the cut line determined?

The cut for normal PGA Tour tournaments ensures the top 70 players after the first two rounds qualify for Saturday and Sunday. The score of the 70th-placed golfer sets the score of the cut.

For example, if Justin Thomas sits in 70th place at +2, the cut is set at that number. If players finish tied for 70th on the scoreboard or better, they make the cut. Anyone at 71st or worse will miss it.

Most regular PGA Tour events feature 144 players, so about half of the field is able to reach the weekend and have a chance at winning or securing a high place and payout at the event.

The cut line at challenging courses or during tournaments with poor weather is usually above par. At easier courses, it will often be under par. 

What determines the cut at the Masters?

The Masters is a prestigious and challenging major with a smaller field than standard tour events. There are usually 40-50 fewer competitors at Augusta, so make sure to check our Masters tips ahead of the tournament.

For the event, the top 50 players and ties after two days can qualify to play on Saturday and Sunday. A 10-shot rule had been implemented at the Masters but was removed in 2020.

A 10-shot rule states that any players, whether or not they are high enough in the standings, who are within ten shots of the leader will also make the cut.

Augusta National’s cut rule has been modified over the years. It was harder to make the cut from 1957-1960 when the cut line featured the top 40 golfers and ties as well as the 10-shot rule.

The rule was modified three times more. In 1961, the number of golfers increased from 40 to 44. In 2013, it became 50, and the most recent change in 2020 removed the 10-shot rule.

Cuts at other major championships

At the U.S. Open, the top 60 players as well as those tied for 60th make the cut.

Yet, the U.S. Open’s cut rule practically ensures that fewer than half of the field will participate in the third and fourth rounds. The tournament has a 156-player starting field.

For both the Open Championship and the PGA Championship, the low 70 players and ties will continue on to play in the final two rounds after 36 holes. Everyone who does worse than that will be eliminated. Both of these majors also contain 156-player fields.

If a player misses the cut at any event, they do not receive any prize winnings. This scenario goes for the Masters and major championships as well.

Tournaments without a cut

Some tournaments don’t have a cut, ensuring every player the opportunity to play all four days regardless of their score. 

There are only a limited amount of PGA Tour events without a cut. 

There were no cuts in the World Golf Championships, the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the BMW Championship and Tour Championship (FedEx Cup playoff events) and the Zozo Championship.

In 2024, the PGA Tour’s elevated events, which award a $20 million dollar purse ($3.6 million to the winner), will remove a 36-hole cut and decrease the field sizes to around 70-78 players.

The LIV golf tour, based out of Saudi Arabia and led by CEO Greg Norman, features no cuts. 

The cut golf specials on sportsbooks

Sportsbooks offer cut golf specials which allow bettors to bet on whether a player will make or miss the cut. These are widely known as “make/miss cut bets”. Betting markets tend to be offered.

The favorites of the golf tournament will have lower odds with worse payouts to make the cut and high odds with higher payouts to miss it. As an example, World No. 3 Jon Rahm might have 1/3 odds of making the cut at the Masters and 3/1 odds of missing it, while the opposite scenario goes for lower-ranked players. So, if you bet on a low-ranked player, you can get very high odds, which is why these are called sleeper tips. Also, one of the best way to bet on sleepers and high odds is to go with each-way betting.

The bet will usually be presented at a sportsbook as a question: “Will Jon Rahm make the cut?” With the yes and no options below it featuring the odds.

Various sportsbooks will boost cut bets for special events. Not every player in a tournament field will be featured on every bookie.

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