New PGA TOUR cut line policy effective at Sony Open

January 11, 2008
PGA TOUR staff

The Sony Open in Hawaii became the first tournament to employ the new PGA TOUR cut policy after a total of 87 players made the cut on Friday.

Following is an explanation of the rule:

The starting field shall be reduced to the 70 professionals having the lowest scores at the conclusion of 36 holes of tournament play, including any professionals tied for 70th place, plus amateurs with scores not higher than that of the 70th professional, provided, however, that should such a cut include more than 78 professionals, the field shall be reduced (cut) to the score which includes the number of professionals nearest 70th place, plus amateurs with scores not higher than the professionals nearest 70th place.

Should there be an equal number of professionals at different scores at equal intervals above and below 70th position, the higher score shall be used. In the event of any such reduction (cut), professionals eliminated who otherwise would have played in the final 36 holes shall receive their appropriate share of the official prize money in accordance with their respective positions.

In layman's terms, it means:

• The cut for most PGA TOUR events remains where it has been in the past, at low 70 professionals and ties.

• If that cut results in a field larger than 78 professionals, the cut will generally be at the next lower score, meaning the weekend field will be smaller than 70. That is the case at the Sony Open, where a total of 69 players finished at 1 under or better.

• In a very few cases, the "number nearest 70" may still be over 78, in which case the larger number of professionals would play the weekend.

• In any case, all professionals who are in the group of "low 70 professionals and ties" but are eliminated from weekend play by the new rule, receive credit for a made cut, as well as their share of official prize money and FedExCup points. A total of 18 players fall into that category at the Sony Open.

Facts based on looking at previous years:

• In the past 12 years, the cut has included more than 78 players 136 times (approximately 11 times per year).

• In six of those instances, the "number nearest 70" was the larger one, and thus the larger group would have played the weekend.

• Of the 508 players who would have been affected by this rule in the past, none went on to win the tournament, and only one had a top-five finish. ( Anthony Kim shot 69-65 on the weekend to move from a tie for 64th to a tie for third at the 2007 Zurich Classic of New Orleans).

• A total of 10 such players (two percent) had top-10 finishes.