What Does WD Mean In Golf? Is It A Bad Sign?

Sometimes you will see the acronym E or MDF in many golf tournament leaderboards. The E stands for “even” while MDF stands for “made cut, didn’t finish”. But what does the acronym WD mean in golf? 

WD means a short form for “withdrawn” in golf. But what is the deeper meaning of this term in golf? Does the organizer need to declare it? Or does it come from the player himself?

The term is frequently used only in tournaments, where you can see the golfer’s name on the scoreboard. Opposite their names is the letter WD, which might appear before the game starts or while the tourney happens. 

This article will explore the deeper meaning of the term WD in many golf tournaments. We feel that you ought to know more about this. You also deserved to know other frequently asked questions about WD in golf! Let’s go!

What Does WD Mean In Golf?

The abbreviation WD on a golf leaderboard means a golfer stopped participating in the game for some reason. Putting the letters next to the player’s name officially declares that the player withdrew from the tournament.

The withdrawal becomes official once the letters are on the scoreboard. But the letters provide deeper meaning in the game. 

WD also signifies that a player forfeits his opportunity to compete in the game.

What Does WD Mean In Golf?

Does Your Golf Club uses WD? 

As far as we know, some golf clubs used WD in the handicapping catalog. However, the club might use your handicap index. It is usable anywhere else in the world. It is the handicap indexing allowed by the World Handicap System by the USGA. 

Once your handicap notes as WD, the handicap panel has to withdraw your handicap. It is the committee’s reaction to a player who often fails to meet his duty. 

Read more: 10 Best Golf Drivers for Mid Handicappers

When Can A Player Withdrawn?

A golfer participant in a tournament may WD before or during the tourney. A player may declare his withdrawal, whatever the reason, before the deadline set by the organizers. In many tours, the deadline is usually the Friday before the event starts. 

Why A Golfer May Withdraw From A Major Event Like the PGA Tour?

Why A Golfer May Withdraw From A Major Event Like the PGA Tour

Golf players, like ordinary people, sometimes suffer the tests of time. Their unexpected withdrawal from the tournament may be because of various reasons: personal or otherwise. 

Here are reasons why a player withdraws from a tournament. 

1. Medical Injury

It is one of the most common reasons why a player WD. Golf is not a physical sport like basketball or football. A player might sustain injury from other instances, which renders them incapable of playing.

The most common medical injuries are those on the lower back, eye, elbow, head, wrist, shoulder, or ankle. In many tours, some players managed to finish the game, then seek treatment later. 

2. Illness

Fever is the most prevalent illness that keeps a pro tour golfer from playing a major event. Other ailments, like stomach ache and diarrhea, are also common.

Illnesses that prevent the golfer from moving smoothly on the golf course should take a second look. In 2022, a year after the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, golf tours enforced mandatory withdrawal for those players found positive for the virus.

3. Issues with the Golf Game 

One of the most hated reasons a pro may withdraw from the game might not be announced immediately by the organizer. It often happens when a player has problems with his game. The PGA Tour discourages this behavior. But once a pro decides to withdraw, there is nothing the organization can do but allow them.

4. Family Emergency

It is one of the most valid reasons a golfer leaves the game prematurely. Professional golfers, like us, are also humans that need to deal with family matters as soon as possible.

Some family emergencies common in WD decisions of pros are death in the family, birthing spouse, and similar circumstances. At the end of the day: the PGA Tour is also an association that honors humanitarian reasons.

Why Is It a Problem When a Player Declares WD In An Event?

Why Is It a Problem When a Player Declares WD In An Event

PGA Tour players are just like us: humans. They do have some problems that coincide with their games; they don’t have much choice but to quit. But what will be the consequences when they WD during a game? 

A golfer, unlike a team player (like basketball, soccer, etc.), is not part of a group of players. Once a player quits, there is nobody to replace him. Here are some problems arising from a pro-PGA Tour player saying goodbye to an event.

Host & Sponsors 

Once a PGA Tour player commits to an event, he also commits to the host and sponsors. These sponsors have invested much in this event and want to please their patrons. Their brand promotion and advertisement through the guy who left the game will surely suffer.

The host also wants their sponsors to feel satisfied with the money they spent promoting the event and the players. 


Fans will surely be disappointed once they know their favorite player is out of the game. They already purchased tickets for the event, probably a month or two before the date. It is an embarrassment for the game organizer to disappoint fans.

Availability of Other Players

Although some WDs are unplanned ahead of time, those that happen in the middle of the event are unexpected. However, if the withdrawal is earlier (for foreseen reasons): the organizer might invite another player as a replacement.

What Happens When a Golfer Withdraws from a Tournament?

We all believe that for any action, there are equal and opposite reactions. So, what might be the impact of a player’s WD from the event? Here are some facts.

Its Effect on the Player’s standing?

A golfer who withdrew is removed from the game’s eligibility for the top prize and awards. The player’s participation in the event may or may not be recorded, depending on the tour’s rules & regulations.

Outcomes for the Player’s Official Performance Record

A pro player who withdraws from the event might suffer his official performance record. The withdrawal could impact his scoring average and other stats for the said event. 

Probable Fines or Penalties

If the same happens frequently without valid reasons, the player might be penalized or fined.

Does A Player Receive Prize Money If They Withdraw?

The USGA handbook says: A player, who withdrew from an official money event after cutting, will be paid last place (unofficial money). 

Are PGA Tour Players Authorized To Withdraw In A Tournament?

Yes, PGA Tour golfers are allowed to withdraw from a game due to illness or injury. Emergencies are also considered: When this occurs while the game is happening, the player may finish his round. Then, his team may report he is not coming back after the round.

Do Golfers Get Paid Once They WD In A Golf Tournament? 

No, they will not receive payments. The money as the prize will be given to players who completed the game. The rule is made to inspire players to complete all holes. 

How Can Players Avoid the Necessity of WD? 

Although withdrawal (WD) is not illegal in golf, there are ways to avoid or minimize it. Many PGA tour golfers apply the following strategies to prevent them from making game withdrawals.

1. Organize Physical Conditioning and Prevent Injury

Physical workouts and exercises keep the body healthy and more competitive. When a player maximizes everyday workout: he minimizes his risk of illnesses and injuries.

They mostly do strength conditioning; flex exercises, and other physical training. They also avoid dangerous activities weeks before the event to prevent any injury.

2. Administer Fatigue & Do Stable Workloads

Players with hectic schedules like frequent practices and joining other tours might be already tired when the day comes. It is ideal managing priorities, rest, and balances their activities outside of the course. 

Once a player is more focused on the incoming event, they will minimize the risks of injuries. No stress moments can also boost their performance.

3. Pursue Professional Support & Guidance

Pro golfers may benefit the most when they seek help from experts. They can hire trainers, sports therapists, and coaches to advise them of the needed afterthought about their performance and well-being. 

Professional help is not illegal in golf. It trains the mind and body to manage stress and organize the ideal training plan.

Did Tiger Woods do a WD? 

Tiger Woods had done several WDs in the past. Tiger, like us, is only human. He also has several withdrawals before the start of the games. 

Many of Tiger Woods’s withdrawals are due to physical conditions. He had knee and back injuries. Recently, he withdrew from an event due to leg injuries.


1. Can a golfer rejoin a tournament after withdrawing?

Players who declare a withdrawal during an event cannot come back to the game. It is especially when the organizer officially declares it. WD marks the voluntary exit of the golfer from the competition. 

2. Is it mandatory to provide a reason for a withdrawal? 

Players are not obliged to state the reason for their voluntary exit from the game. It is the sole right of the golfer to reveal or not the grounds for his withdrawal.

3. Can a player pull out of the game mid-round?

Yes, they can do that! But if they can finish the round and affix their signature to the scorecard: it is officially stated that they finished the round. The withdrawal’s effectivity is after the finished round.

4. Can a golfer withdraw due to poor performance?

Yes. The PGA Tour organizer accepts poor performance as a cause for a withdrawal: after accessing its necessity. However, pro golfers seldom do this. They are afraid of being labeled as a cheater and a quitter.

5. What is JWD in Golf?

JWD means Justified Withdrawal. It was used in the American Junior Golf Tournaments (AJGT) in withdrawing the game for reasonable reasons. 

6. What does MC mean in golf?

MC means Missed Cut. Pro games usually have a cut after the first two rounds. The top 65 or 70 golfers may proceed to the weekend, while the rest head home with nothing.

7. What Does DNS mean in golf?

DNS means Did Not Start. It is for golfers who registered for the event but did not show up.

8. What Does DQ Mean In Golf?

DQ means Disqualified. It happens whenever a player violates the competition’s Rules of Golf (RoG).

9. What Does NS Mean In Golf?

NS means No Show. The term is for players who did not show up during tee time on the second day of the competition.

10. What Does NC Mean In Golf?

NC means No Card. Players listed as NC are those who did not return their cards. It is also applicable for unsigned cards.

11. In a Golf Leaderboard, What Does WD Means?

Once PGA Tour pro golfers decide to quit the game due to reasonable causes, they are declared WD, meaning withdraw. The letters appear on the leaderboard opposite their names.  

12. What Does WD Mean in Masters Golf?

In Masters Golf, WD also means withdrawal from the game with valid reasons.

13. What does cut mean in golf?

In golf, a cut means a curved shot leading toward the target. The curve might be left to right (for right-handed golfers) or vice versa.


So, what does WD mean in golf? You will not be confused now when you see the letters WD opposite a player’s name in a PGA Tour game. It simply means withdrawal from the event. 

This way, the tour informs the public if their favorite player is still competing. Withdrawing the event before and during the game is allowed in PGA Tours. It is the pro players’ prerogative due to the causes we explained.

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