What Does MDF Mean In Golf? All Your Q’s Answered

Have you been watching the PGA Tour Live, only to find the players at the bottom of the leader board have an array of strange letters next to their name? Something along the lines of MDF? Is your favourite player no-where to be seen? I had this same thought too!


The acronym MDF stands for, “Made Cut, Didn’t Finish” and was first introduced into the golfing world in January 2008.


Why was this brought in?


We all know that professional golf tournaments consist of four rounds. There is a cut of the player base after the second round, usually after 36 rounds. This is to ensure that the weekends play continues smoothly, and tee times aren’t being delayed in any way, due to the strenuous number of players. However, in some tournaments, particularly the PGA tour where copious amounts of players enter, the first cut doesn’t limit the player base enough; therefore, a secondary cut is introduced.


The term MDF is used to differentiate those who made the first cut after 36 rounds, but not the secondary cut (around the 54-round mark).


Impact For The Players?


Those who get marked with MDF do not carry on to the third or fourth round, however, will still receive some of the tournament winnings. It is really just to ensure that the tournament doesn’t take too long to complete. MDF is only seen on the PGA circuit, and only results if after the first cut of players, there are still more than 78 golfers in the third round; to cut it down to 70 players. Players receive both professional points and a cut of the prize money; so, no harm done really?


Or is it?


The MDF rule has caused confusion, yet for the 2019/20 season the ruling has changed; namely due to an increase in the amount of MDF’s. The PGA Tour policy board introduced a new rule that see’s the Top 65 and ties go through to the next round, an extra five players being cut. The new ruling also reduced the field size at opposite field events (When a pro golf tour has two different tournaments scheduled on the same dates, the lesser of the two events is called an “opposite-field tournament”) from 132 to 120 with the stipulation that the fields be expanded to accommodate all the players from the Korn Ferry Tour category if needed.


With this in mind, a player that regularly placed from place 66-70, will not have the capacity to earn more points or money during the weekend stages, like they usually would.


Professional player Bubba Watson didn’t agree with the reasonings behind the rule change citing: “If it’s about speeding up play, we’re not worried about speeding up play on the weekend,” Watson argued. “We’re worried about speeding up play the first two days… the weekend is not broke. It’s the weekdays that are broke.”


It is well known that TV viewing and crowd attendance is significantly higher in the later stages of the weekend. By reducing the number of players, it is much easier to manage in terms of pace of play and allows for better television coverage. With Watson’s comment in mind, perhaps limiting the amount of players that enter the field would help speed up the tournament, particularly those stages before the third and fourth round.

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