In the Midst of a Notable Streak, Xander Schauffele Is a Cut Above

The PGA champion is quietly closing in on 50 consecutive made cuts, a mark of consistency only reached by Tiger Woods in the last 40 years.
Xander Schauffele's last missed cut was the 2022 Masters.
Xander Schauffele's last missed cut was the 2022 Masters. / Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

PINEHURST, N.C. — It isn’t a big topic of conversation this week at the U.S. Open and that’s understandable: making the 36-hole cut is not exactly what high-level golf pros celebrate. They have bigger goals than that.

But if Xander Schauffele makes the cut this week at the U.S. Open, it puts him in some rare company with a chance to get to a milestone only one player—Tiger Woods—has accomplished in the last 40 years.

Schauffele has made 48 consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour dating to his last missed cut at the 2022 Masters. He can tie Steve Stricker, who made it to 49 in a row in 2012. That is the most consecutive cuts any player has made since Woods made 142 in a row from 1998 through 2005.

And no player other than Woods has gotten to 50 since Tim Kite made 53 in a row ending in 1982.

Schauffele joked about a curse when it was brought up a few weeks ago at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he was reminded the tournament did not have a 36-hole cut—so the streak was safe.

“It gets brought up,” said Schauffele, who last month won the PGA Championship. “I think (caddie) Austin’s (Kaiser) actually the one who brought it up to me a couple of weeks ago. I think it’s definitely a testament to consistency. All of us out here want to win tournaments and I guess that’s a different question.”

Woods made 142 consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour, a streak that lasted more than seven years and ended when he missed it by one stroke at the 2005 Byron Nelson Championship.

For large fields such as a major championship, there's a cut after 36 holes to better manage play on weekends. For the majority of Woods’s career, players had to be among the top 70 and ties to make the cut. The PGA Tour has since changed this to the top 65 and ties. The Masters, as a smaller-field major championship, has been 50 and ties. Last month’s PGA was 70 and ties and it will be 60 and ties this week at the U.S. Open. (The majors also used to have a 10-shot rule, which meant anyone within 10 shots of the lead also made the cut; that has since been dropped by all of the majors.)

Today’s game features a larger number of events that do not have a 36-hole cut. Schauffele will play in eight of them this year—five of the signature events plus the three FedEx Cup playoff events.

So far, Schauffele has played 14 events that did not have a cut. Next week’s Travelers, where he could get to 50 consecutive made cuts if he makes the weekend at the U.S. Open, also does not have a 36-hole cut. (It is interesting to note that as part of Schauffele’s streak, the 2023 Sentry, where he withdrew, counts as a no-cut event.)

Xander Schauffele celebrates after winning the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
Xander Schauffele's cut streak includes last month's PGA Championship, his first major title. / Clare Grant/Courier Journal / USA TODAY

Woods was credited with making a cut in 31 events that did not have a cut of the 142 that comprise the record. None of the World Golf Championship events, of which Woods won 18, had a 36-hole cut. The Tournament of Champions didn’t, either. Nor did the final two FedEx Cup playoff events, including the 30-player Tour Championship.

“Just remembering when he was rattling off records left and right you could find so many things,” says Adam Scott, who reached 45 cuts in a row from 2012 to 2015. “But a lot of people always felt like one record that would never be broken is the cut streak. No one’s really getting close anymore these days.

“The fact that he managed to spend seven years without missing ... I know he didn’t play as much as everyone but 142 ... that’s a lot. Guys struggle to get into the 30s now. That’s two years of play. The standard is high, and it was before, but that’s incredible.”

For Schauffele to one day approach Woods’s 142 somewhat defies logic.

“It would mean I would have to play like another three and a half years to get close to his number,” Schauffele said. “Yeah, it's ridiculous. That's why he's the GOAT, he did stuff like that and he has records like that that will never be broken.”

Only six players in PGA Tour history have streaks of 50 consecutive cuts or more.

Woods leads the way with 142, followed by Byron Nelson, whose record of 113 stood for more than 50 years. Nelson, it should be noted, played in an era when making the cut meant “in the money”—as players could make a cut and not get paid. In each of his 113, Nelson was paid, with the streak starting in 1941 and going into 1949.

Jack Nicklaus is third on the list at 105 (1970–76), followed by Hale Irwin with 86 (1976–79), Dow Finsterwald with 72 (1955–58) and Kite with 53 (1980–82).

Missing cuts is part of the game. Jon Rahm recently missed the cut at the PGA Championship. Jordan Spieth, who is ranked 26th in the world, has missed five cuts this year alone, including at the Masters and PGA Championship. Defending U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark missed the cut at both the Masters and PGA.

It happens to the best and given the ups and downs of golf, injuries, travel, golf course conditions, weather ... there are numerous reasons why a player just might not have it and thus is eliminated before the weekend.

But it’s also informative that Woods, in a career that has now spanned nearly 27 years as a pro, has missed just 24 cuts worldwide, 23 on the PGA Tour—13 in major championships.

Many times, Woods was playing so well it didn’t matter. But like all players, he had his bad days and needed to find something in order to prevail.

“Yeah, I grind,” said Schauffle, who is ranked second in the world. “I don't think I've ever sat on a property and, glass half-full maybe after I missed the cut, I was like, you know, probably a good thing I missed it, you know what I mean?

“But when I'm in the hunt and trying to make a cut, it's definitely one of the things that are exciting out here as a Tour pro and sort of gut-wrenching. No matter how highly ranked you are in the world or not, it's pretty humbling. And it's fun and stressful to make these putts down the stretch and hit good shots to sort of make the cut.”


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Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior writer covering golf for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience on the beat, including 15 at ESPN. Harig is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, "DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods" and "Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry." He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Harig, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Fla.