With as many as 156 players teeing it up in the average PGA TOUR golf event, that’s a heck of a lot of putts that need to be drained in order for the tournament to keep moving forwards.
While the use of 3-ball pairings keeps the flow of action moving, as the event heads towards its business end there is a need to reduce the field so that the leaders are competing head-to-toe and toe-to-toe in a bid to create those fantastic finishes that all golf fans love.
To do so, the idea of a cutline was innovated that would see roughly half the field miss out on the weekend’s action… and on a payday, with only the top players in the event securing a prize money cheque.
What is the Cut in Golf?
The demand to switch the final two rounds of a golf tournament to 2-ball pairings, as opposed to 3-balls, meant that some players would have to exit the event at the halfway stage, i.e. after 36 holes have been played.
The cutline achieves that and has a happy knock-on effect: it saves the likes of the PGA TOUR money, as they only have to pay those that have shot a low enough score to make the cut.
That was one of the discussion points that was raised as LIV Golf was gaining traction. T
he Saudi-backed tour have built their golf model on smaller field, no cut events – meaning that everyone in the field secures a payday no matter if they finish first or last. Is it any wonder that fading stars of the sport like Ian Poulter did not hesitate to make the switch!?
Ironically, it turns out that a number of players that have stayed loyal to the PGA TOUR also fancy the idea of no cut golf – hence the change in long-standing events like the RBC Heritage and Travelers Championship that have since become cut-less in their format.
How is the Cut Determined in Golf?
The number of players in the field generally determines how many will make the cut.
For the standard PGA TOUR event, the top 65 players and ties will make the cut. So, if a handful of players are in joint 65th place after two rounds are completed, they will all make the grade for the weekend.
You may hear golf punters refer to the ‘cut sweats’ on a Friday as a tournament reaches its halfway mark. That’s because one player can change the entire make-up of an event in one hole – if the player in 64th place makes a bogey on the final hole, then all those guys who looked set to miss the cut get a reprieve.
Conversely, if a player was in a tie with many others in 65th and they birdie their final hole, their score will be one stroke lower and so they will become solo 65th – those formerly in the tie will now be joint 66th, missing out on the weekend and perhaps consigning ‘to make cut’ bets to the scrapheap.
As a side note that punters should be aware of, the cutline in the four majors is different. For The Masters, only the top 50 players and ties have the privilege of playing the weekend. That increases to 60 for the US Open, while the cut for the PGA Championship and Open Championship is set at 70 players and ties.
Which Golf Tournaments Don’t Have a Cut?
To head off the existential threat posed by LIV Golf, the PGA TOUR has introduced a series of Signature Events that boast no cutline and an increased prize pool of up to $20 million per tournament.
These events are invitational in nature – the TOUR wants the best players to tackle each other more often, so you can expect strong fields to play all 72 holes at the following:
- The Sentry
- AT&T Pebble Beach
- RBC Heritage
- Wells Fargo Championship
- Travelers Championship
Three other Signature Events – the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Memorial Tournament – have a cutline of the top 50 and ties, although players within ten shots of the leader after 36 holes are also allowed to play the weekend too (which may make the number greater than 50).
How to Bet on Players to Make the Cut
The good news for punters is that you can bet on the players you think will make the cut in many different events, from the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour through to the LPGA, Asian Tour and more besides.
The basic set-up of the market will look like the example below:
The structure is in line with the outright market, so the favourites to win the event – in this case McIlroy, Hatton and Lowry – are also the shortest odds to make the cut, as you would expect.
It’s rare for a bookmaker to offer ‘make cut’ odds for the full field, but you will perhaps get a couple of dozen priced up at odds that generally fall into line with their outright price.
A fairly modern innovation in golf betting is that you can now back doubles, trebles, accumulators and full cover bets of multiple ‘to make cut’ bets – combine a handful that you believe will make the grade and you can take your odds beyond the even money mark and into 2/1 or longer territory.
Can You Bet on Players Not to Make the Cut in Golf?
You may have noticed on the screenshot above captured at one of the UK’s premier online betting firms that there are options for ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
And it’s this ‘no’ part that perhaps offers the best value, with some juicy odds available if you believe that one of the favourites will have a poor couple of rounds and miss the weekend.
Again, you can back players to miss the cut in single, multiples and accumulators, so keep your eyes peeled on social media for any star names that have eaten a dodgy lasagne, and be sure to check the local weather forecast to the event to see if any of the favourites are on the wrong side of a draw bias and therefore more likely to miss the cut.