PGA Tour Modifies Controversial Cut Rule
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- The PGA Tour's revised cut policy for 2008 will barely make it through the West Coast swing, as the Players Advisory Council voted unanimously to alter weekend qualifications yet again during a meeting this week in Los Angeles. Full-field events will return to the low-70-and-ties stipulation used before the start of the season, with a 54-hole cut being added if the number of final-round competitors still exceeds 78.
However complicated or trivial the revision may seem, the "double cut" gives tournaments an extra chance to reduce fields to a manageable size, particularly when daylight and frost delays are significant issues early in the season. It also gives players one more chance to shoot themselves back into contention, which was the primary gripe among those who opposed the original modification when it went into effect last month.
The tour's policy board will vote on the latest proposal when it gathers at the Honda Classic in two weeks. Board member Joe Ogilvie said he saw no reason why the revision wouldn't go into effect almost immediately, which would end a brief but tumultuous issue that claimed unusually large numbers of players on two separate occasions.
At the Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of '08, low 70 plus ties meant that 87 players would have qualified for the weekend. The revision lowered the actual cut by one stroke, however, leaving 18 players out of the tournament, each of whom collected just less than $10,000 in prize money. Two weeks later in San Diego, 19 players were on the original cutline and sent home. At that point, it had become clear that the modification would soon be reconsidered.
"The tour recognized this was a very unpopular decision and has done something to rectify that," said Olin Browne, a former member of both the policy board and the PAC. "Good for them to see something that wasn't well-received by the majority of us. The board makes policy and we have to live by it, and there will always be decisions the players disagree with. The question is whether that decision in the best interests of the PGA Tour. I don't think the players saw how this benefited anyone."
-- John Hawkins