Tiger's 'missed cut' explained

Tiger Woods
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For the first time in his career Saturday, Tiger Woods finished with an MDF -- missed cut, did not finish.
By T.J. Auclair
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Monday, January 27, 2014 | 9:53 a.m.

If you were confused as to why Tiger Woods played in the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open on Saturday, but not in Sunday's final round, here's why:

For the first time in his career, Woods was a victim of the PGA Tour's "MDF" or "made cut, did not finish" rule.

In 2008, the PGA Tour instituted a rule known as, "Rule 78." Basically, the top 70 players and ties made the 36-hole cut. That is until the rule change in 2008, where the top 70 and ties made the cut unless that number was higher than 78 players (to this day, that only includes regular PGA Tour events and does not include majors, World Golf Championships or other short-field events).

If the number of players making the 36-hole cut was higher than 78, then the cut was made with the next bunch of players closest to 70. The players who were among the top-70 ties were then sent packing for the weekend with the designation "MDF."

Players were unhappy with the new rule and -- one month after it was put in place in 2008 -- the Tour made a change so that rather than a 36-hole cut when more than 78 players were tied among the top 70, there would instead be a 54-hole cut with the same rule: top 70 and ties, unless there are more than 78 players.

When Woods shot a shocking 7-over 79 on Saturday at Torrey Pines, where he's won eight times as a professional and was the defending champion, he was tied for 80th -- one spot out of last place of the players who advanced after 36 holes.

As a result, Woods, along with eight others, missed the 54-hole "secondary cut," for the first time in his career. The 79 matched Woods's third-highest score in his career on the PGA Tour. His highest round was an 81 at the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield in a brutal third round.

Woods also shot a 79 at the Memorial last year.

Players who "MDF" still receive official money and FedExCup points. Woods, despite missing out on the final round, banked $10,919.00 and one FedExCup point. Woods is 1,232 points behind leader Jimmy Walker.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.