Should USGA have kept the 10-shot rule at the U.S. Open?

By Jay CoffinJune 16, 2012, 6:55 pm

The U.S. Golf Association allowed only the top 60 and ties to make the cut in the 112th U.S. Open, eliminating its standard 10-shot rule. Under the old system, any player within 10 strokes of the lead would have made the cut, which fell at 8 over. In this year's case, with 1 under par being the 36-hole lead, 22 extra players would have qualified for weekend play having finished at 9 over. editorial director Jay Coffin and senior writer Rex Hoggard offer their thoughts on whether or not the USGA should have kept the 10-shot rule.


SAN FRANCISCO – Hell no. All the fuss over eliminating the 10-shot rule for the U.S. Open this year is ridiculous. Who cares? It doesn’t make a bit of difference and it allows the weekend to become more manageable.

Would we have more to write about if Casey Martin had made the cut? Absolutely. Watching him for another 36 holes would continue to be inspiring. Would it be nice to have major champions Lucas Glover, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson? How about Bill Haas and Dustin Johnson? Sure. But that alone is not a reason to keep an outdated rule.

Just look at the sheer numbers. Seventy-two players made the cut without the rule. If you weren’t one of the 72 best players around The Olympic Club the past two days you don’t deserve to play the weekend. Two words: Play better.

Another 22 players were at 9 over par and would’ve played the weekend had the rule not been abolished this year. Twenty-two! That’s 11 more twosomes. As it is the first pairing was off at 9:15 a.m. PT and co-leaders Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk are the last to go at 3:05 p.m. PT.

Adding nearly two more hours of tee times, and having the first group go at around 7:30 a.m. PT, doesn’t make this a better championship. It makes a long week longer, and it’s completely unnecessary.


SAN FRANCISCO – There was nothing wrong with the 10-shot rule that an early wake-up call and some caffeine wouldn’t fix.

Sure, nobody likes to see 94 players advance to the weekend, the number that would have played Saturday and Sunday at The Olympic Club had the U.S. Golf Association not nixed the 10-shot rule for this year’s championship. But a cost-benefit analysis of this year’s tee sheet suggests that the tradeoff for an extra 11 tee times may be worth the effort.

Had the 10-shot rule been used this week there would have been an additional 22 players make the weekend, which means officials would have had to begin the third round at 7:25 a.m. PT, instead of 9:15 a.m.

And for that extra effort, the likes of Casey Martin, Lucas Glover and Bubba Watson – who all finished a stroke outside the cut at 9 over but within 10 strokes of the leaders – would have been around for the weekend.

Besides, since 1996 – when an unwieldy 108 players made the cut – the 10-shot rule has been used only four times to determine the cut.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to continue to use the rule came in 1993 when Ernie Els narrowly made the weekend, 10 shots out of the 36-hole lead, and rallied to finish tied for seventh to earn a spot in the ’94 Open, which he won.

Maybe no one can come back from 10 shots to win, but we’ll never know now.

Getty Images

McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in four months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

Getty Images

Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

Getty Images

Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

Getty Images

DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."