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


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 But that alone is not a reason to keep an outdated rule.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.