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Why The Cut Must Remain an Essential Part of Pro Golf

By: | Mon 05 Jun 2023

Golfshake's Derek Clements addresses the importance of having cuts in professional golf as part of this week's View From The Fairway.

MUCH has been made of the fact that no world ranking points are awarded for LIV Golf tournaments, with those behind the ranking system pointing to the fact that they have 48-man fields, only play 54 holes and have no 36-hole cut.

Every man who tees it up in a LIV Golf event is guaranteed to pick up some prize money.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has been a vocal critic of LIV Golf, saying that ranking points should not be awarded for limited-field events with no 36-hole cut.

However, the PGA Tour has announced that from next year its elevated tournaments will have fields of 70-78 players who will compete over 72 holes with no cut. That sounds like a limited-field event to me.

These tournaments are seen as a reward for sustained excellence but the truth is that they will make life more difficult for those trying to make their way in professional golf. The elevated tournaments all offer massively increased prize funds and even those who finish dead last will pick up a cheque while those not invited to play will spend those weeks scratching around, worrying about their positions in the FedEx Cup.

Jay Monahan

(Jay Monahan - Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Much of the drama involved in professional golf centres on the cut. Knowing that you have to hole a vital putt to make it to the weekend is what pressure is all about. It’s what PGA Tour golf is all about.

Let’s go back to the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. With three holes of his second round still to play, Rory McIlroy was heading home. But an eagle meant he scraped through to the weekend. He had opened with rounds of 72 and 73. He then shot rounds of 66 and 62 over the weekend and ended up winning the tournament by four shots. It was his first victory on the PGA Tour, and he has since gone on to claim 19 titles.

Make no mistake - we are seeing these elevated tournaments as a direct result of the launch of LIV Golf. The big plus for golf fans is that they know if they are attending one of these tournaments or tuning in to watch on TV then they know they are going to see the world’s leading players in action. 

When McIlroy chose to sit out the RBC Heritage after his disastrous performance at The Masters, he knew he was going to be hit in the pocket. Players are allowed to miss one elevated event, and he had already failed to play in the first of them, the Tournament of Champions.

There is now a perception that Monahan has created a two-tier tour that lavishly rewards its best players. And it is difficult to disagree.

Some will point to the fact that World Golf Championship events have always been played without a 36-hole cut. And that is true. But the problem with those tournaments is that we always see players finishing 20 or 30 shots behind the winner. We see something similar with LIV Golf. If there was a cut, that would not happen.

I believe that removing the cut for the world’s elite at these elevated tournaments simply devalues them - and leaves the PGA Tour open to criticism from Greg Norman and his cohorts at LIV Golf.

Monahan wants to see his best players in action more often but if they perform well in the elevated events, are they not more likely to give run-of-the-mill tournaments a miss because money in the bank guarantees bucketloads of FedEx Cup and world ranking points?

And how can the PGA Tour criticise LIV Golf’s format if it is planning to stage 14 tournaments of its own without a 36-hole cut and then expect world ranking points to be awarded?

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What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: PGA Tour LIV Golf FedEx Cup daily picks

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