ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Cut day at the Open Championship brings with it plenty of stress and anxiety as players well down the leader board are still keeping a close eye on the scores to figure out where they stand, and whether the numbers they’re posting will be low enough to play on the weekend. Surprisingly, perhaps, at the Old Course, those numbers historically need to be pretty low.
The rules for who makes the cut at the Open are similar to those at the PGA Championship: low 70 players and ties advance to play all four rounds. This differs from the U.S. Open, which makes the cut at low 60 and ties, and the Masters, which keeps the low 50 and ties around on the weekend. And there is no “10-stroke rule” in effect to help determine the British Open cut.
All this is, of course, particularly relevant for handful of the game’s more familiar names: Brooks Koepka (73), Tony Finau (73), Will Zalatoris (73), Jon Rahm (73), Sergio Garcia (75) and Tiger Woods (78). What are their chances of making Open Championship 36-hole cut and playing the weekend? Well if the cut was made after just 18 holes, you needed to shoot even-par 72 or better to be inside the top 70 and ties. With 54 players posting under-par scores in the first round, the projected cutline from datagolf.com as of 6 a.m. Eastern on Friday was a 52.2 percent probability of even-par 144, a 29.1 percent probability of one-over 145 and a 15 percent probability of a one-under 143. So all five in this group would have to shoot sub-par scores on Friday, with Woods needing at least 66.
As a point of reference, here’s what the Open Championship 36-hole cut line has been for the last 10 Opens:
2021: 141 (+1), Royal St. George’s
2019: 143 (+1), Royal Portrush
2018: 145 (+3), Carnoustie
2017: 145 (+5), Royal Birkdale
2016: 146 (+4), Royal Troon
2015: 144 (E), St. Andrews
2014: 146 (+2), Royal Liverpool
2013: 150 (+8), Muirfield
2012: 143 (+3), Royal Lytham & St. Annes
2011: 143 (+3), Royal St. George’s
And here is the cut for the last five Opens at St. Andrews
2015: 144 (E)
2010: 146 (+2)
2005: 145 (+1)
2000: 144 (E)
1995: 148 (+4)