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OPINION: The Masters cut is as brutal as the Augusta course itself...

The halfway cut in any golf tournament is a cold and clinical exercise.

You're either in the top half or you're not! There are no favours and no special treatment for previous winners or current favourites.

And afterwards, those golfers who are cut, can only sit and ponder what they would have done if they'd played one or two holes differently or read a putting line like their caddie had told them to. It's always a case of 'if only'.

Yesterday, the Augusta National layout was in a particularly unhappy and grumpy mood. It called on Mother Nature for a bit of extra help and literally blew some of the biggest names in world golf right off the course and out of its hallowed grounds.

It certainly decimated the highly-rated South African challenge with only Louis Oosthuizen, the lone survivor and he just scraped in on the cut line.

If this was a Godfather-style movie, they would have referred to yesterday as Bloody Friday.

Former Masters champions like Charl Schwartzel, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Trevor Immelman were bundled out of the 2016 tournament almost dismissively.

Even for those who survived into the weekend, yesterday was incredibly difficult. Only Troy Merritt, Daniel Berger, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy would sign for sub-par rounds, as the rest of the 89-man field fought for survival from one hole to the next, and only 55 in total survived.

At the top of the leaderboard, even the "golden boy" Jordan Spieth could do little more than just limit the damage in his quest for a successive green jacket. Spieth eventually shot a two over par 74 following on from his first round 66, and sits tenuously at the top on four under par.

He has some serious chasers though, notably Rory McIlroy who shot a one under 71 to claw his way to three under.

Earlier this week, three-time champion and legend of the game, Gary Player made two very telling predictions. The first was that the high winds would make things difficult on the normally sheltered Augusta layout. The second was that he picked McIlroy for the win come Sunday.

At this stage, McIlroy is the only one with meaningful forward momentum and with that comes confidence.

Augusta has shown it can give as quickly as it can take away, so players who sit five, six or even seven shots back, can still post a low score and put in a challenge.

Amen Corner is where the real damage is being done and so if players can sneak through here in level par, or even one under, they'll be well-placed for a good score.

Strap yourselves in everyone… this is going to get really exciting now!

Jeremy Harris is the sports anchor at Kfm and Cape Talk based in Cape Town. He is a keen golfer and plays off a 5 at his home club, Arabella. He is the specialist golf correspondent for EWN Sport and is also the narrator for the Sunshine Tour's two TV programmes on Supersport. Follow him on Twitter: @jeremyharris55.

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