The leaderboard has taken shape, the weather vagaries separating the field Saturday and inevitably, the unfortunate loss of the within-10-shot rule will be forgotten. But in an era when we are told over and over again how anyone can win any week, and in an era where technology has brought the players closer together, the Open Championship desperately needs to reevaluate the 10-shot cut rule eliminated over 15 years ago.
John Huggan noted the role of course setup and techology this week in a post last night, and Gary Van Sickle proposed a couple of sound solutions that should be a key part of Monday's R&A press conference.
If it's not time to reinstate the 10-shot rule, at least an eight-shot rule would be a step in the right direction. There were 86 players within eight strokes this week and 93 within nine.
Since 2000, a 10-shot rule would've increased the field five times, including this year. In 2009 at Turnberry, it would've added 11 players, including Tiger Woods. In 2003 at Royal St. George's, there were eight additional players within 10 of Davis Love's lead. In 2002 at Muirfield, yes, there would've been a traffic jam with 25 more players getting in. Another 12 players would've made the cut in 2000 at St. Andrews.
I'd propose reinstating the 10-shot rule and then, if more than 80 players make the cut, trimming the field to low 70 and ties with a second cut after the third round. That would eliminate the possibility of an oversized field for the final round.
Of course, the alternative would be to make some equipment rulings that actually allow skill to shine just a bit more and perhaps not put quite so many hole locations in awkward spots, but we know the R&A would much rather just institute a 54-hole cut! Get on chaps!