In a year when there has already been immense change to the Masters simply by playing the event in November, Augusta National Golf Club introduced a bit more on Monday. However, this alteration is far less jarring than the tournament moving from April. The club announced that the 2020 cut line will simply be the lowest 50 golfers (including ties) on the leaderboard after 36 holes.
This erases the 10-shot rule that has been in effect for forever at Augusta. In the past, if you were within 10 strokes of the leader, you made the cut -- whether you were in the top 50 or not. Last year, this meant that 65 players (out of just 87 in the field) played the weekend. Few big names missed the final two rounds.
The cut line was moved from low 44 (plus ties) and those within 10 of the lead back in 2013, and this is the first change to the protocol since.
It makes sense that the field should be sliced down a bit more in 2020 given how little daylight there will be on Saturday and Sunday, but it sounds as if this rule is here to stay.
Depending how bunched the leaderboard looks on Moving Day, this could affect massive weekend charges we've often seen.
Last year, Patrick Cantlay opened 73-73 and squeaked into the weekend before closing 64-68 and even touching the lead briefly on Sunday. Again, it depends on how far out in front the leader stands. In some years, the 10-shot rule has not even applied because the leader was more than 10 out in front of those who were in the top 50.
Regardless, the most coveted prize in golf just got a hair more exclusive and difficult to win. Though it probably won't change the outcome of this year's Masters, it will affect a handful of golfers who would have played their way into a top 20 or top 10 finish and pushed up their Official World Golf Ranking or even qualified for next year's Masters as the top 12 finishers from the prior year get into the following event.