What Is a Double Cut in a Golf Tournament?

When you hear the term "double cut" applied to a golf tournament — "This tournament has a double cut" or "uses a double cut" — what does that mean? It means that instead of having just a single cut, the tournament uses two cuts.

So what's a cut? Most professional golf tournaments (and many amateur events) employ a cut. That means that at some point, the number of golfers in the tournament is reduced, or cut. On the PGA Tour, for example, 156 golfers might start a tournament. Then, halfway through, the field is cut: those in the bottom half (roughly) don't get to continue playing. The remaining golfers complete the tournament.

One, single cut is the standard in golf tournaments. But every now and then a tournament will employ a double cut, which means that the field gets cut a second time (also called a secondary cut). Maybe, for example, the first cut reduces the field from 156 golfers to 110, then another cut following the next round reduces the number from 110 to 78.

Double cuts are not seen very often in golf today, but they do still happen. They were never the norm in professional tournaments, but they were more common in the past.

If a four-round tournament employs a double cut, the first cut typically happens following the second round (after 36 holes), and the second cut happens following the third round (after 54 holes). A double cut was used every year at the British Open from 1968 through 1985. Today, a rule about field size on the PGA Tour causes a handful of double cuts to happen each year.

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