What does it mean to make the cut in golf?

To make the cut in golf, a golfer needs to complete the first two days without exceeding a certain score. If the golfer exceeds the set score, they will be eliminated and will not be able to complete the final two rounds in the golf tournament.

For example if the cut is 3-under par anyone who scores 3-under or above will be eliminated. A score of 2-under, 1-under, Par and upwards will fail, and will not be able to continue in the competition.

Famous golfers like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have failed to make the cut. The cut is made after the compilation of the second round, and the tournament can lose half the player’s when the cut or cutline (missing the cut) is made. 

The cut usually takes place on a Friday evening, as most tournaments start on A Thursday morning and end on a Sunday afternoon or evening.

A standard cut in a PGA event is made at the 65th lowest score. A player making the cut will score better than the 65th score. A player who makes the cut will receive a cut of the prize money, anyone lower will go home empty handed.

There is a 10 shot rule, excluding the Masters, which allows players closest to the leader after two rounds to make the cut and complete the four rounds.

The advantage of making the cut is that with fewer players you can stay in bed longer, as the start to the final two days is pushed forward. 

Shorter playing days on the final two days, can help the remaining players produce better scoring, as the weather will change less than on the longer first two days, when there are more players and longer days.

What it means to ‘miss the cut’ in golf

Missing the cut in golf, can have many repercussions for a professional golfer. Firstly, you won’t get paid, and you will have to cover your expenses. For example, you will have to pay for your caddie.

You’ll also be at risk of losing your tour membership, if you miss too many cuts. This is because you won’t be earning money and points towards your rankings.

If you fall out of the rankings you will lose the opportunity to take part in PGA tournaments.

Players who have won tournaments have gone on to miss the cut in their next events. This has happened to golfers like Jordan Speith and Mark O’Mera

Do golfers get paid if they miss the cut

No, golfers get paid if they miss the cut, they may get paid by sponsors for making it to the tournament. The prize money paid out in a percentage to the players who made the final two rounds.

The money to pay the players comes from TV rights money, and the rest from the tournaments sponsors. The percentage can vary for each tournament.

For the vast majority of golf tournaments a prize of over $1million is awarded to the winner. With some of the larger PGA tournaments paying over $2 million.

Expenses incurred by a golfer competing in a tournament will include airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, caddies, personal trainers, psychologists, agents, swing and putting coach, yardage books, and can also include expenses for family members attending a tournament.

What is the new PGA cut rule?

In 2020 the PGA (Professional Golf Association) decided to reduce the number of players who make the cut on day two of a tournament.

Before 2020 the cut was for 70 players and ties would proceed to the final two days. The new rule reduced the number of players to 65 and ties.

They also eliminated the 10-shot rule, meaning any player within 10 shots of the leader would have qualified for the final two rounds. The exception to this rule is the Masters in Augusta.