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Masters 2020: How the 36-hole cut is determined at Augusta National

JD Cuban

Nothing is simple in 2020, so naturally it’s going to take a little longer than expected for tournament officials to make the 36-hole cut at this year’s Masters.

A weather delay on Thursday morning at Augusta National prevented the first round from finishing by day’s end. In turn, the second round won’t finish as scheduled on Friday, either. Which means that there won’t be final word on which players will compete in the final two rounds until Saturday morning.

When it does happen, the tournament will be implementing a new policy that was only announced Monday. Prior to 2020, the Masters cut allowed for all players inside the top 50 and ties, plus any player within 10 stroke of the lead. Starting this year, however, that second part, the so-called “10-shot rule” has been eliminated.

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said there were two reasons behind the change, the first being that it created a “reliable way” to predict the weekend field.

“But the other thing is we look back at the statistics, and the last few years, or the last several years, I think we've only had two players who have been in contention who made the cut only because of the 10-shot rule,” Ridley said. “While certainly it can happen, it just doesn't. It's not relevant that often, and we thought this was a way to sort of tighten things up and have a more predictable field size for the weekend.”

Meanwhile, Augusta National’s decision to do away with the 10-cut rule brings it in line with the other three men’s major championships in terms of how they determine their cuts.

At the U.S. Open, the low 60 players and ties play all four rounds. At the Open Championship and the PGA Championship, it’s the low 70 and ties.

With the scores being so low so far on a soft Augusta National, there’s the potential for the cut line to be under par for the first time in the Masters history. The record for the lowest cut line is one-over 145. That has happened six times since a cut first went into place at Augusta in 1957, most recently in 2011.

Here’s what the cut line has been for the last 10 Masters:

2019: 147 (+3)
2018: 149 (+8)
2017: 150 (+6)
2016: 150 (+6)
2015: 146 (+2)
2014: 148 (+4)
2013: 148 (+4)
2012: 149 (+5)
2011: 145 (+1)
2010: 144 (+3)

The average cut at the Masters is 148.53. The highest cut was 154 (+10) in 1982.

For history buffs, here are some stats related to the cut at the Masters:

37, Jack Nicklaus
30, Gary Player
30, Fred Couples
27, Raymond Floyd
26, Bernhard Langer
25, Ben Crenshaw
24, Tom Watson
24, Phil Mickelson
23, Billy Casper
23, Arnold Palmer

23, Fred Couples (1983-2007)
23, Gary Player (1959-1982)
21, Tom Watson (1975-1995)
20, Tiger Woods (1997-2019)
19, Bernhard Langer (1984-2002)
19, Gene Littler (1961-1980)
18, Billy Casper (1960-1977)
16, Phil Mickelson (1998-2013)
15, Bruce Devlin (1964-1981)
15, Jack Nicklaus (1968-1982)
13, Ben Crenshaw (1980-1992)
13, Nick Faldo (1979-1996)
13, Raymond Floyd (1973-1985)
13, Corey Pavin (1985-1998)
13, Justin Rose (2003-2018)

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