With this new rule, the LPGA is making a subtle change to how it's running tournaments in 2023
Weekends on the LPGA Tour just got a little smaller. On Wednesday, the tour announced a rule change to the cutline that’s being put in place at full-field events, with the top 65 players and ties now advancing. Previously, it was top 70 and ties.
The smaller cuts will begin at the LPGA Drive-On Championship at Superstition Mountain, the first full-field tournament of the 2023 season on March 23-26. The LPGA hopes to increase its pace of play with the change.
“This new regulation, now more consistent with other professional golf organizations, will assist in ensuring a manageable field size after 36 holes of competition,” said Tommy Tangtiphaiboontana, LPGA Senior Vice President of Tour Operations, in a press release. “The change will provide increased chances of playing off a single tee on the weekend and help establish a faster pace of play in an effort to strengthen the competitor experience at LPGA Tournaments."
The PGA Tour updated its cut line in the same fashion from top 70 and ties to top 65 and ties in 2019. The DP World Tour also shares the same cutline.
Per the release, changing the cutline involved the LPGA Player Directors' input. Team USA Solheim Captain and Player Director Stacy Lewis has been vocal in her concerns about the tour's pace of play in recent years. After Lewis' 2020 Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open victory, where her threesome took five hours and 16 minutes to complete their final round, she took a moment during her victory press conference to point out the challenges of final rounds taking that long.
“It shouldn’t take that long to play,” Lewis said, “I knew it was going to; that’s the sad part, you know it’s going to take that long. I do think an effort needs to be made across the board to play faster, because obviously I wasn’t watching it on TV, but I’m sure it couldn’t have been fun to watch on TV. There’s just so much the announcers, that they can talk about to fill time.”
The rule change will only solve some of the tour's slow play woes, but limiting multiple-tee weekends is a step in the right direction.
A tour media official told Golf Digest that the change to number of players making the cut will not impact the distribution of prize money at full-field events. "Our purse calculator will stay the same, adjusting accordingly depending on how many people make the cut.”