What is MDF in Golf

What is MDF in golf?

MDF in golf stands for Modified Cut Differential. It is a rule used in professional golf tournaments to determine if the cut line should be modified after the second round. The rule is used to ensure that the field is not too large for the final two rounds and that players who are within striking distance of the lead have a chance to compete.

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How does MDF work?

Typically, the cut line is set at a certain score (for example, the top 70 players and ties after two rounds), and any player who scores worse than that is eliminated from the tournament. However, if more than a certain percentage of the field makes the cut (usually 78 players or more in a standard PGA Tour event), the cut line is “modified” using the MDF rule.

The MDF rule takes the top 70 players and ties after the second round and adds any players within 10 strokes of the lead. These players are then allowed to play the final two rounds, and the remaining players are eliminated from the tournament.

Why is MDF used in golf?

MDF is used to ensure that the field size is appropriate for the final two rounds of the tournament. If too many players make the cut, it can result in slow play, which can be frustrating for players, fans, and broadcasters. MDF helps to prevent this by limiting the number of players who can continue to play in the tournament.

When is MDF used in golf?

MDF is typically used in professional golf tournaments that have large fields, such as the PGA Tour events. The rule is often used when more than 78 players make the cut after the second round.

Controversies around MDF in golf While MDF is generally seen as a fair way to determine the cut line, it has been controversial at times. Some players have criticized the rule, arguing that it punishes players who have played well but miss out on the cut due to the MDF rule. Others have argued that MDF is confusing for fans and broadcasters and that it can be difficult to explain the rule during a broadcast.

Examples of MDF at PGA Tour Events

Tournament NameYearTotal PlayersCut ScoreNumber of Players Making CutMDF Rule Applied?
Waste Management Phoenix Open2021156+277Yes
The Players Championship2020144Even71No
BMW Championship201969-169No

MDF Rule Formula

The formula used to determine if the MDF rule should be applied is:

MDF = (Number of Players Making Cut) x (Percentage of Field Size)

If the number of players making the cut is greater than or equal to the MDF, the rule is applied.

Impact of MDF on the Field Size

The MDF rule can have a significant impact on the field size of a tournament. Here is an example of how the field size can change based on the MDF rule:

RoundCut ScoreNumber of Players Making CutNumber of Players Remaining
3Modified70 + players within 10 shots84
4N/AN/A70 + ties

Examples of Players Saved by MDF

Here are a few examples of players who were able to make the cut thanks to the MDF rule:

Player NameTournamentYearRound 2 ScoreFinal ScoreCut ScoreResult Without MDFResult With MDF
Max HomaWaste Management Phoenix Open202172+3+2Missed CutMade Cut
Webb SimpsonThe Players Championship202073+1EvenMissed CutMade Cut
Tiger WoodsBMW Championship201971-1-1Made CutMade Cut

Note: The “Result Without MDF” column shows what the player’s result would have been if the MDF rule had not been applied, while the “Result With MDF” column shows their actual result with the MDF rule in place.

What is MDF in Golf


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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