What Is the PGA Championship Cut Rule?

2nd round scoreboard at the PGA Championship
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The PGA Championship tournament is 72 holes long and begins with a field of 156 golfers. At the midway point (after 36 holes) that starting field is reduced (or cut) by roughly half. The guidelines a tournament follows to enact such a cut is called its "cut rule."

This is the cut rule currently in place at the PGA Championship:

  • The golfers with the low 70 scores (including everyone tied for 70th place) make the 36-hole cut and play the final two rounds.
  • Those golfers outside the Top 70 plus ties are cut from the field and do not advance to the final two rounds.

Like almost all other pro tour events, the PGA Championship is played over four days, beginning on a Thursday and finishing (unless there have been weather delays) on a Sunday. Therefore, the PGA Championship cut rule is implemented (barring delays in play) on a Friday, following completion of the second round.

How the PGA Championship Cut Rule Has Changed Over Time

The PGA Championship used a match-play format through 1957, so the PGA cut rule did not come into effect until the 1958 tournament. At that time, a double cut, meaning one cut after 36 holes, a second cut following 54 holes, was introduced.

The double cut typically reduced the field to around 90 to 95 golfers following the second round. The secondary cut, after the third round, then reduced the field to the Top 64 scorers.

The double cut was used in 1958, 1959 and 1960, plus 1962 and 1964. A single cut was first used in 1961, again in 1963, and then the PGA Championship switched permanently to single cut following 36 holes beginning in 1965.

Today, the PGA Championship cut remains a single cut after 36 holes to the Top 70 plus ties. This rule is similar to the Masters cut, U.S. Open cut and British Open cut. Each of the four major championships in men's professional golf determines, on its own, how to cut its field. The PGA Tour cut rule is followed by most other tournaments on the PGA Tour.

Cut-Related Records at the PGA Championship

Now you know what the PGA Championship cut rule is, plus a little bit of the cut's history. Let's throw in some bonus facts and figures: a few tournament records related to the cut.

The record for most cuts made in the PGA Championship is 27, shared by Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd.

The lowest stroke total for a 36-hole cut is 141, set at the 2001 PGA Championship played at Atlanta Athletic Club.

The highest 36-hole cut stroke total is 154, set in the 1958 PGA Championship played at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, Penn. This was the first year the tournament was played at stroke play. (Keep in mind, though, it was also one of the years with a double cut, so the 36-hole cut in 1958, by design, allowed more golfers to keep playing.)

In the stroke-play era, five tournament winners missed the cut the following year, in their attempted title defenses: Bob Rosburg in 1960 (years listed are those in which the golfer was defending champion); Jerry Barber in 1962; Larry Nelson in 1982; Paul Azinger in 1994; and Mark Brooks in 1997.