The US Open Cut Rule Explained

How many golfers make the cut in the U.S. Open golf tournament? That number varies from year to year, and is governed by the cut rule. So just what is the U.S. Open cut rule?

It's the most straighforward cut rule of any of the men's major championships. And here it is:

  • The top 60 players (including ties) make the cut in the U.S. Open.
That's it. There is no 10-shot rule at the U.S. Open. The top 60 golfers (including all those tied for 60th place) following the second round of play move on to play the third and fourth rounds. Those in 61st place and lower at the completion of the first 36 holes go home. (A 10-shot rule means that all golfers within 10 strokes of the leader, whether high enough in the standings or not, also make the cut.)

The Masters' cut rule allows for only the Top 50 plus ties, but The Masters uses the 10-stroke rule, too. That results in more than half the golfers in the field (The Masters typically starts with fewer than 100 golfers) making the cut.

The U.S. Open's cut rule, however, virtually guarantees that fewer than half the golfers in the field will play the third and fourth rounds. With a starting field of 156, 78 players would have to make the cut for half the field to make it. While that is possible, it is unlikely that many golfers would tie for 60th place.

Why such a severe cut rule? In years past some big numbers of players survived the cut, which complicated the flow around the golf course (for golfers and fans alike) in the final two rounds, and complicated the timing for television coverage. Before the USGA adopted the current cut rule, for example, in the 1993 U.S. Open 88 golfers made the cut. In the 1996 U.S. Open 108 golfers made the U.S. Open cut.

In the 2019 U.S. Open, with the Top 60 plus ties cut rule in place, only 67 golfers made the cut.

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