Rory McIlroy entered this week ranked as the world’s No. 3 golfer. Oddsmakers and soothsayers gave him (and Rickie Fowler) the best odds at taking home the green jacket at the 2019 Masters. Despite all of this, the 29-year old from Northern Ireland is on the razor’s edge of missing the second round cut.
While Fowler is a solid, albeit unspectacular, 1-under par at the moment, McIlroy is 2-over with a little less than a full day ahead of him. Before diving into his chances at lasting through the weekend, let’s do a quick refresher on the cut rules at Augusta National, and how they differ from the rest of the PGA Tour.
2019 Masters Cut Rules and Rory McIlroy’s Chances
According to National Club Golfer, the Masters cut rules work differently than the PGA Tour, which cuts golfers outside the top-70 in most tournaments.
After the first two rounds, a cut will be made in which the top 50 players and ties on the leaderboard will qualify to play over the weekend.
In addition to this, any players that finish round two within 10 shots of the leader will also be sticking around for the weekend.
If players are inside the top 50 and ties but are more than 10 shots back then they will make the cut.
Applying this to our current leaderboard, Italy’s Francesco Molinari finished Friday at 7-under. That would make the projected cut line 3-over par.
Australia’s Jason Day has moved into a tie with him and has two holes left. With another birdie or two, this could move the cut line even further up.
Through 4 holes, McIlroy has crept closer to the cut line with a bogey on the 2nd hole. Yesterday, he bogeyed on No. 6, No. 10, No. 17 and No. 18. He mitigated the damage with birdies on No. 3, No. 8, No. 13, No. 15 and No. 16.
That performance places him outside the top-50, as he is currently tied with a slew of other golfers for the No. 51 spot. The last time he missed the cut at Augusta National was during his 2nd appearance in 2010.
Basically, McIlroy can afford one more lost stroke before he’s truly sweating it out. Andy Bull of The Guardian talked with McIlroy about how his biggest problem at the moment is with his putting.
You could tell then that it was going to be one of those days when McIlroy would have to sweat every putt. He missed five of them between five and 10 feet, which meant that he needed 32 putts and as soon as he stepped off the 18th he scurried back to the practice green.
“I’m going to go try to figure this out,” he said. “It was the reads more than anything else. I over-read a few early on, and then I started to under-read them coming in.”
He had a theory that the ball was not breaking like he expected because the greens were so slow, but he sounded pretty flummoxed about it.
It’s likely that to save himself from missing the cut, the 29-year old is going to have to replicate his success from Thursday on the back-9, while also playing conservatively on the holes that he lost strokes on.
Currently, OddsShark gives him -10000 odds to make the cut.