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What is the cut line at the U.S. Open Championship?

As anticipation builds for the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, June 13-16, one of the most compelling subplots will unfold during the second round—where will the cut line fall, and who will finish above or below it? This “tournament within the tournament” decides who qualifies to contend for the championship title over the weekend, with fortunes swaying as the cut line shifts. Players will vie fiercely to secure their spot on or above the cut line, desperate to avoid an early exit that will send them home with no chance for glory or a shot at big prize money.

Players aren’t the only ones with lots at stake when it comes to the cut line. As the tournament drama plays out, fans onsite and at home will be monitoring the leaderboard and sharing in the tension. A big reason for this is betting. While predicting who will win is the championship’s standard bet, one of the most popular prop bets–or alternative wagers–is putting money down on where the cut line falls. The sports books set the odds on the cut line a few days in advance of the tournament and those odds flucuate in real time as the first two rounds unfold. Each stroke carries weight, and each finishing score potentially shifts the final cut line.

Key Takeaways

–In the U.S. Open, the field’s top 60 and ties survive the cut line after 36 holes to play all four rounds and compete for the championship crown.

–The U.S Open cut rules have changed over time. Cut lines and making the cut are celebrated in U.S. Open history lore.

–Predicting the cut line number is one of the most popular prop bets during the championship.

–If this year’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 can repeat the excitement of the 2023 championship at Los Angeles Country Club, players, fans and bettors are in for a thrilling ride.

Making the cut at the U.S. Open

Although the U.S. Open gets underway with a field of 156 golfers, only the top 60 players and ties after the first two rounds advance to play the final two rounds. The cut line is the last qualifying score that fills out the top 60 and ties. That number is apt to move up or down as the second round progresses depending on the course conditions and how players are able to score. Last year at Los Angeles Country Club, the cut line was +2 (142) and 65 golfers played the weekend.

Making the cut at the U.S. Open is a notable achievement. In fact, on the U.S. Open website (, the profile for each participant in the field spotlights their cuts made (and number of starts) along with their best finishes. This year’s 124th edition of the championship, the fourth to be contested at Pinehurst, marks the second year in a row and third time overall that the USGA accepted over 10,000 entries for the championship. Making the cut as one of the top 60 is confirmation that a player has passed what is widely considered the ultimate examination in golf, as it is played on the toughest and most exacting courses. It also gives players the opportunity to achieve golf immortality with a win and to earn some significant prize money. In 2023, the winner received $3,600,000 and anyone (except amateurs) who made the cut earned at least $42,000 (pro players who missed the cut received $10,000).

One thing about the cut line is that it plays no favorites. Will big-name stars such as six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson and former U.S. Open champions Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth make it to the weekend this year at Pinehurst? How about PGA Tour stars Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Tony Finau, or LIV Golf banner carriers Cameron Smith, Patrick Reed, and past champions Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau? Will obscure PGA Tour grinders Adam Schenk and New Zealander Ryan Fox make the cut? Everything will be determined by the performance of the field over the championship’s first two rounds.

History of the U.S. Open format and cut line (1895-present)

1895-1897 Stroke play, one day of 36-hole competition. No cut.

1898-1903 Stroke play, two days of 36-hole competition. No cut.

1904-1913 Stroke play, two days of 36-hole competition; field cut after 36 holes.

1914-1916 Stroke play, two days of 36-hole competition (no championships, 1917-1918). No cut.

1919 Stroke play, two days of 18-hole competition, one day of 36-hole competition; field cut after 36 holes to 64 lowest scorers and all those tied for 64th place.

1920-1925 Stroke play, two days of 36-hole competition. No cut.

1926-1947 Stroke play, two days of 18-hole competition, one day of 36-hole competition; field cut after 36 holes to 60 lowest scorers and all those tied for 60th place (no championships, 1942-45).

1948-1964 Same format; but field cut after 36 holes to 50 lowest scorers and all those tied for 50th place.

1965 Stroke play, four days of 18-hole competition; field cut after 36 holes to the 50 lowest scorers and all those tied for 50th place.

1966-1971 Field cut after 36 holes to 60 lowest scorers and all those tied for 60th place.

1972-2011 Field cut after 36 holes to 60 lowest scorers and any tying for 60th place or anyone within 10 strokes of the leader.*

2012-present Field cut after 36 holes to 60 lowest scorers and all those tied for 60th place.

(Special thanks to the USGA Golf Museum and Library for providing this summary of the tournament format and the cut line throughout history.)

Comparing the cut rule of the four major tournaments

How does the top 60 and ties cut line rule at our national championship compare?

The Masters—The top 50 players and ties on the Masters leaderboard make the 36-hole cut to compete on the weekend. The Masters always has the smallest field among the major championships. In 2024, the cut line was +6. A total of 60 of the 89 players in the field progressed to the final two rounds.

PGA Championship—With a field of 156 players, the PGA Championship cut rule is the top 70 and ties make it to play the weekend. After a very high cut (+5) at Oak Hill in 2023, this year’s low scores at Valhalla Golf Club brought the cut line to +1. 78 players were on or above the cut line.

Open Championship—The low 70 scorers and ties from the field of 156 get to play all four rounds of the Open Championship. In 2023 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, the cut line was +3 and 76 players advanced to the weekend.

U.S. Open cut lines from the recent past

2023: 142 (+2), Los Angeles Country Club, North Course

2022: 143 (+3), The Country Club
2021: 146 (+4), Torrey Pines, South Course
2020: 146 (+6), Winged Foot Golf Club
2019: 144 (+2), Pebble Beach Golf Links
2018: 148 (+8), Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
2017: 145 (+1), Erin Hills
2016: 146 (+6), Oakmont Country Club
2015: 145 (+5), Chambers Bay
2014: 145 (+5), Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2

Cut line records in U.S. Open championship history

Highest cut line, all-time–183 — Myopia Hunt Club (1908). No par was designated for this U.S. Open course. 48 golfers from the 84-man field played the third and fourth rounds.

Highest cut lines, post-World War II (to par)

+15 (155)–Olympic Club, Lake Course (1955).

+14 (154)–Southern Hills (1958).

Lowest cut line (total)–142 (+2), Los Angeles County Club, North Course (2023).

Lowest cut line (to par)

+1 (145)–Medinah, No. 3 Course (1990).

+1 (145)–Erin Hills.

Most players to make the cut —108–Oakland Hills, South Course (1996).

Oldest player to make the cut (since World War II) –Sam Snead, age 61, at Oakmont in 1973.

Youngest player to make the cut (since World War II) –Beau Hossler, 17 years and three months, at the Olympic Club, Lake Course in 2012.

A look back at the 2023 U.S. Open–how many players made the cut?

A total of 65 players made the cut at the 2023 U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club. Favorable course conditions helped produce record scores in the first round, highlighted by the 62s shot by Xander Schauffele and Rickie Fowler. The North Course at Los Angeles Country Club saw thrilling shot-making (including three holes-in one of the short 15th hole), exciting jostling for position down the stretch on Sunday, and a star-studded final leaderboard. Wyndham Clark won his first major, finishing at -10, a single stoke ahead of Rory McIlroy. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler was alone in third, three strokes behind Clark and one better than Cameron Smith.

The fifth place finishers at -5 included Tommy Fleetwood, who made the cut on the number (+2) but closed with a final round 65, and Rickie Fowler, who led or had a share of the lead in all four rounds. Min Woo Lee also finished at -5. The younger brother of LPGA star Minjee, Min Woo Lee was bidding to join Minjee as a U.S. Open Champion. They both also won the US Junior Amateur championship.

Emerging star Tom Kim finished t-8 at -4, while Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson were among those at -3 who finished t-10. Next at -2 was Patrick Cantlay, who had played Los Angeles County Club dozens of times in college while attending UCLA. Patrick Cantlay continued his consecutive streak of finishing above the final cut line in every U.S. Open since his first in 2011.

Sam Bennett, the amateur sensation at the 2023 Masters, was just five strokes off the lead after the first two rounds. By finishing t-43, Sam Bennett (+5), who had turned professional, earned $64,582. Meanwhile, Gordon Sargent (+4) and Ben Carr (+13) were the low amateurs, finishing t-39 and 62nd, respectively.

Who missed the cut in 2023?

Notable players who missed the cut included Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, 2013 champion Justin Rose, and Martin Kaymer, the 2014 champion at Pinehurst. Mickelson, seeking to win the only major that has eluded him, posted a promising opening round 69 before struggling to a second-round 74 on his 53rd birthday. What befell Justin Thomas, a two-time winner of the PGA Championship, was even worse. After a first round 73, he ballooned to an 81 and missed the cut badly.

The 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst — what’s your bet?

The return of another major to Pinehurst No. 2, a historic course that anyone can play and that anchors a classic resort in a village known as “the American St Andrews,” is sure to generate incredible excitement. As of this writing, well over half of the spots in the championship’s 156-man field are still up for grabs. Local qualifying concluded on May 20th, setting the stage for final sectional qualifying on June 3rd. The road to Pinehurst will ultimately be filled with many unfamiliar names along with many PGA TOUR players who haven’t already secured their spot.

The odds-on favorite to win the championship is Scottie Scheffler, followed by Rory McIlroy. While wagering on the winner is where most of the money will be placed, much of the betting fun comes from prop bets. Predicting the cut line is just one of the alternative wagers you’ll be able to get in on. Other popular prop bets include whether there will be a hole-in-one, the nationality of the winner, the margin of victory, the top LIV Golf finisher, the first round leader, whether certain players finish in the top 10 or 20, who comes out on top in specific pairings during any particular round, and many more.

Where the cut line will fall is always fascinating because it can change suddenly and has an impact on so many players. How will the cut line this year compare to 2014, the last time the championship was contested on Pinehurst No. 2, when it was 145 (+5)? One thing is certain–the cut line at this year’s U.S. Open will have a lot of people on edge as the second round draws to a close. Bring it on!

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