PGA Tour gives players on cut line one more day

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The PGA Tour amended its divisive cut policy, giving players on the cut line one more day of competition to separate themselves from the bottom of the pack.

Starting this week at the Honda Classic, the tour will return to a traditional 36-hole cut for the top 70 and ties. If more than 78 players make the cut, there will be another cut to the top 70 and ties after the third round.

"On the surface, that sounds like doing the same thing over again," commissioner Tim Finchem said Tuesday. "But it's really not, because the field spreads."

The cut policy changed this year to avoid large fields on the weekend, which led to 5½-hour rounds and disrupted the television window. When the cut was more than 78 players, the nearest number to 70 advanced to the weekend, while the others received last-place money.

Eighteen players at the Sony Open and 19 players at the Buick Invitational were kept from playing on the weekend under the previous policy. Anthony Kim was among them in San Diego, and it could have kept him from qualifying for a World Golf Championship.

Others complained that they didn't have a chance to move up the leaderboard over the final two rounds, if not for a chance to win, then at least to get into the top 10 and earn valuable Ryder Cup or FedEx Cup points, not to mention money.

"I just think we didn't think through the new rule," Finchem said. "It's hard to understand. People see players making the cut and not playing. Nobody's happy with that."

Not much was said about the policy until early this season. Some players acknowledged they didn't actually know about it.

The 16-man Players Advisory Council met last week at Riviera and made the recommendation, which the tour's policy board voted on Monday in Florida. The tour also will consider changing the so-called second cut to one with 65 and ties in the future.

"It's kind of a compromise, kind of half a loaf," Finchem said. "But it's the best step for right now. ... It may be that we fall in love with this. It may be that we want to reevaluate Saturdays. But everybody seems to be pretty comfortable right now going in this direction."