What Is The 10-Shot Rule In Golf?

The 10-shot rule used to be a big feature in the majors but is now becoming a thing of the past

10-shot rule
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The 10-shot rule was introduced in 1962 so that any player within 10 shots of the lead after 36 holes, irrespective of their position, would make the cut. This was because, it was thought, that any player within 10 shots of the lead was still in a position to challenge for the lead.

This has primarily been the case in majors where the courses are harder and the likelihood of a round in the mid 60s early on a Saturday would make plenty of headway.

The Masters was the last of the majors to use the 10-shot rule but they did away with it in 2020 when the tournament was played in November, maybe because of there being less light or maybe because the rule was becoming more a thing of the past and led to cluttered fields over the weekend. At The Masters it is also a smallish field and the top 50 get to play the final two rounds so it is already on the generous side.

Related: What is a Texas Scramble?

Interestingly the biggest comeback after 36 holes at Augusta was by Jack Burke Jr in 1956 when he was eight shots back. 

The rule doesn’t exist in any of the other men’s nor women’s majors. The US Open cut rule is for the top 60 players and ties, at The Open and the PGA Championship the top 70 and ties will play the weekend.

The standard cut line for a PGA and DP World Tour event is those players in 65th place or in a tie for that position. if 78 or more players make the weekend then there is a secondary cut after 54 holes – those players who drop out after three rounds are considered MDF or 'made the cut, did not finish'. 

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.