7:43 p.m. Fred Couples' streak of 23 consecutive Masters cuts is over. Couples came in at four over par today, just one off the three over cut line. That means he'll still share the streak record with Gary Player. Joining Couples on the list of big names who will be watching on TV this weekend are Ernie Els (+4), Sergio Garcia (+4), Aaron Baddeley (+4), Luke Donald (+4), Rory Sabbatini (+5; the Par-3 curse continues), and Steve Stricker (+6).
Couples said he was disappointed to miss the cut, but that the streak wasn't that important to him. For him, it's whether you win or lose, not whether you play the weekend.
"The reason I have that streak is that I won in 1992, which was the big honor, and to make the cuts, to be honest with you, I don't consider that great of a deal," Couples said.
The +3 cut line means 45 players will remain in the tournament. The Masters cut line is the 44 lowest scores and ties, plus anyone within 10 strokes of the leader. South African Trevor Immelman is the leader at -8. For a complete list of players, check out the GOLF.com Leaderboard.
7:15 p.m. With 45 players at +3 or better and the final group heading to 17, +3 looks like the cut line at the 2008 Masters. That means big names like Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and Fred Couples need help or they'll be out along with Couples' 23 consecutive Masters cuts. Couples will remain tied with Gary Player for the record of longest streak.
Here are the other guys who will likely just miss the cut..
Aaron Baddeley, +4Brett Wetterich, +4Charles Howell III, +4Michael Campbell, +4Martin Kaymer, +4Luke Donald, +4Toru Taniguchi, +4 6:25 p.m. With 46 players at +3 or better and the final group heading to 14, it's starting to look like +3 will be the cut line at the 2008 Masters. Watching and waiting with final scores of +4 are big names like Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and Fred Couples. Couples' 23-consecutive-Masters-cut streak is hanging in the balance.
Here are the other guys crossing their fingers..
Aaron Baddeley, +4Brett Wetterich, +4Charles Howell III, +4Michael Campbell +4 5:50 p.m. The cut is stubbornly staying at +3 with the final group of Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Toru Taniguchi on No. 13, though players at +4 still have a good chance since only 44 players are at +3 or better. The Masters cut is the 44 lowest scores and ties, plus anyone within 10 strokes of the leader.
One player who'd like to see the number at +4 is Fred Couples, who is +4 through 16 and is going for his 24th consecutive Masters cut, to best Gary Player's record by one.
Here's who's on the bubble with Fred:
Sergio Garcia: +4Ernie Els: +4Brett Wetterich, +4Charles Howell III, +4Michael Campbell +4Jerry Kelly, +4 through 16Luke Donald, +4 through 14Stuart Appleby, +4 through 12Toru Taniguchi, +4 through 12 5:20 p.m. The cut is now at +3, though it could easily go back to +4. The Masters cut is the 44 lowest scores and ties, plus anyone within 10 strokes of the leader. Right now 45 players are +3 or better. Here are the guys on the outside looking in right now:
Sergio Garcia, +4Ernie Els, +4 Aaron Baddeley, +4Brett Wetterich, +4Charles Howell III, +4 through 17Michael Campbell, +4 through 16Padraig Harrington, +4 through 10Henrik Stenson, +4 through 9 5 p.m. Fred Couples is +5 after a birdie on 11, just one off the cut, so it's possible he will continue his made-Masters-cuts streak to 24. 4:50 p.m. Fred Couples is back to +6 after a bogey on 11. Fifty-five players are at +4 or better, which appears to be today's cut. Here are the guys who just made it in (either done for the day or playing the back nine).
Sergio Garcia, +4Ernie Els, +4 Aaron Baddeley, +4Brett Wetterich, +4Charles Howell III, +4 through 15Michael Thompson, +4 through 14Martin Kaymer, +4 through 12Vaughn Taylor, +4 through 12Geoff Ogilvy, +4 through 10
(Amateur Trip Kuehne was on the cut line through 14 but fell back to +6 with a double on 16, and 2005 U.S. Open champ Michael Campbell is now at +6 with a double on 13.) 4 p.m. The projected cut is still 4-over, after a few minutes at 3-over. Fifty-four players are now at +4 or better. Here are the guys just making the cut (who are either finished or playing the back nine).
Sergio Garcia, +4.Ernie Els, +4 Brett Wetterich +4 through 15Trip Kuehne, +4 through 14Miguel Angel Jimenez, +4 through 13Justin Leonard, +4 through 12Michael Campbell, +4 through 12Michael Thompson, +4 through 11
With the greens firming up as the weather gets cooler, the cut line is not likely to drop to +3 again. And the one of the best stories on the course right now is Fred Couples trying to keep his 23-consecutive-Masters-cuts-made-streak alive. He's +5 through 10. 3:25 p.m. The projected cut is now 4-over. So our "just missing" group is now the "on the bubble" group. Here they are:
Sergio Garcia, +4.K.J. Choi, +4, through 16Ernie Els, +4 through 15Aaron Baddeley, +4 through 13Brett Wetterich +4 through 13Justin Leonard, +4 through 10
*Note: List only covers players either finished or playing the back nine. 3 p.m. The projected cut is still 3-over. Here are the players currently just missing the cut who are either done for the day or playing the back nine:
Sergio Garcia, +4.K.J. Choi, +4, through 16Ernie Els, +4 through 15Aaron Baddeley, +4 through 13Brett Wetterich +4 through 13Justin Leonard, +4 through 10 2:30 p.m. The projected cut is now 3-over, as scores are coming in just a shade lower than Thursday.That means 1988 Masters champion Sandy Lyle would make the cut (he's 3-over after today's 75), and we'd have some great storylines for the weekend. 1:15 p.m. The early morning groups are finishing their Friday rounds and so far the course appears to be playing similar to Thursday--in fact the current leader Trevor Immelman (8-under) posted an identical 4-under round. Steve Flesch posted the best round of the tournament so far, with a 5-under round of 67. No big moves yet, but Ian Woosnam came in at 1-under today, so the 1991 champ looks safe at 2-over. 12:15 p.m.If Thursday is Anything Can Happen Day at Augusta National, Friday is Better Make Something Happen Day for those players who are lurking around the cut line.
The official cut at the Masters is the 44 lowest scores and ties, plus anyone within 10 strokes of the leader. If the players post similar scores Friday--which seems likely since the conditions are virtually identical to Thursday--the cut will be around +4. (The leaders are -6 as of noon, and it's unlikely anyone will get too much lower than that.)
Some notable names starting the day in dangerous territory include Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and Rory Sabbatini (all +3 after Thursday's round), and Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Stuart Appleby (all +4).
Fred Couples' streak of 23-consecutive Masters cuts made is in danger after his +4 on Thursday, and Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington don't have many shots to spare after opening rounds of +2.