USGA says change was publicized

SAN FRANCISCO -- The USGA decided this year to eliminate the 10-shot rule in making the cut. Starting this year at the U.S. Open, the cut will be only top 60 and ties.

About the only problem appears to be neglecting to tell the players.

Carl Pettersson said he just found out about the change earlier in the week -- from the caddies. Phil Mickelson might need the 10-shot rule after opening with a 76, which left him 10 shots behind Michael Thompson. He was asked if he was told of the change.

"Honestly, I haven't looked," Mickelson said. "If there might be a note or something, I don't know. I haven't really looked at it."

Players often get notices of local rules or golf course information when they register for a tournament, and they don't always read it. Dustin Johnson comes to mind about the bunkers at Whistling Straits, which cost him a spot in a playoff two years ago in the PGA Championship.

But the information sheet in the locker room, which told about local rules and which holes would be used if a playoff went extra holes, didn't mention the 10-shot rule.

It was certainly something that was in the application for entry," USGA executive director Mike Davis said. "And I think I know it was in the player memo."

Davis said earlier the idea was to keep from too many players making the cut -- 108 got into the weekend at Oakland Hills in 1996 -- and slowing down weekend play, perhaps even forcing a two-tee start in threesomes.

Besides, no one has ever made the cut through the 10-shot rule and gone on to win. Lou Graham was 11 shots back at Medinah in 1975, but he was within the top 60.

Zach Johnson, who opened with a 77, said he found out when signing his card, and officials began telling other players after their rounds. When told the rationale behind it, Johnson said, "It's just odd they didn't announce it."

Another out of the loop was Padraig Harrington.

"But that's not what I'm thinking about when I turn up at a major," he said, grinning.