PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — Cut day at the Open Championship brings with it plenty of stress and anxiety as players well down the leader board are still keeping a close eye on the scores to figure out where they stand, and whether the numbers they’re posting will be low enough to play on the weekend.
The rules for who makes the cut at Royal Portrush are similar to those at the PGA Championship: low 70 players and ties advance to play all four rounds. Unlike the Masters, there is no 10-stroke rule in place at the Open Championship. And unlike the PGA Tour, there is no potential for a second cut after 54 holes.
All this is, of course, particularly relevant for pair of the game’s biggest names: Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. McIlroy hit his opening shot out of bounds on Thursday and things didn’t get much easier as he finished up with a eight-over 79. Meanwhile, Woods struggled physically from start to finish in his opening round, shooting a disappointing 78.
What are their chances of Rory and Woods making the British Open 36-hole cut and playing the weekend? Well if the cut was made after just 18 holes, you needed to shoot a one-over 72 or better to be inside the top 70 and ties. A reasonable rule of thumb is to double that number, meaning that two over could be what players have to aim for to play on the weekend. That would mean that McIlroy would need to shoot a six-under 65 and Woods would need a five-under 66. In other words, these guys have some serious work to do on Friday.
The first Open Championship to employ a cut was back in 1892 at Muirfield.
As a point of reference, here’s what the British Open 36-hole cut line has been for the last 10 Opens:
2018: 145 (+3), Carnoustie
2017: 145 (+5), Royal Birkdale
2016: 146 (+4), Royal Troon
2015: 144 (E), St. Andrews
2014: 146 (+2), Royal Liverpool
2013: 150 (+8), Muirfield
2012: 143 (+3), Royal Lytham & St. Annes
2011: 143 (+3), Royal St. George’s
2010: 146 (+2), St. Andrews
2009: 144 (+4), Turnberry