What Is ‘Moving Day’ During A Golf Tournament?

The phrase is reserved for day three of a tournament, but what does it mean?

Cameron Smith runs after a shot during the 2022 Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While there are exceptions, most notably with LIV Golf, most modern-day professional tournaments take place over four days and 72 holes. In those tournaments, moving day refers to round three, when those on the fringes attempt to force their way into contention while others fall away.

At most golf tournaments, about 10 shots separate the leader from those who make the cut on the mark. This means that any player shooting a low score in the third round can move into genuine contention going into the final round. With the leaders often merely looking to consolidate, a sprint from the pack is always something to look out for. So, for example, if we look at the 2022 Masters at Augusta National, Cameron Smith moved from the pack into serious contention, going within three shots of leader Scottie Scheffler – who consolidated.

Indeed, round three often provides some of the most exciting golf of the week. With the pressure off the chasing pack, they have less to lose so can free-wheel their way into the reckoning. Of course, playing aggressively will cost some and benefit others, but seeing those players make their moves can be the most interesting and exciting part of the the third round. 

For those who enjoy betting on golf, moving day offers plenty of value if you can spot the most likely member of the pack most likely to start making their way up the leaderboard. But what’s the best way to pick a player who might excel on moving day? 

One way is to look at the conditions players had to deal with in the earlier rounds. For example, at links courses in particular, the afternoon conditions often vary considerably from the morning and can often favour half the field in rounds one and two. Selecting a player who fought through to make the cut from the wrong side of the draw is a good way to identify those who might do well on moving day. It's also worth keeping an eye on the weather forecast for the Saturday. If you fancy backing an outsider, it's best not do so without checking to see if a change in the weather during the day is likely to hinder them.

Ultimately, moving day is all about jockeying for position. By the end of play, contenders will want to be within striking distance of the lead (probably no more than a handful of shots back). Finding a balance between playing aggressively and avoiding a high-scoring is a must. If moving day works in a player's favour, it can leave them firmly in contention for taking the honours going into the final day. 

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.