What Does WD Mean in Golf?

Matt Henney
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The prestigious golf sport is known for having many acronyms. Getting familiar with every one of them is necessary if you play the game of golf. Also, you can’t escape using these acronyms if you’re a budding enthusiast. Interestingly, many golf acronyms have multiple meanings. So it is essential to know the context of this article. If you’ve ever been in a golf tournament, you’ve probably heard the acronym “WD.” You may have also seen it written beside a player’s name on the leaderboards.

WD in golf is an abbreviation for the word “Withdrawn.” It is a situation where a player decides not to participate further in the tournament. This usually happens before the tournament is over. WD usually means the player has had quite a disappointing experience. Many people usually perceive it as unfavorable, despite the circumstances leading to the player’s withdrawal. But why would a golf player withdraw from a tournament before it is over?

Golf Ball

Why Would a Player Withdraw from a Tournament?

  • Health-Related Issues

Golf can be a tough sport that requires the full attention of your body and soul. As with every sport, players sometimes fall ill before or during the duration of the sport, which may require a withdrawal. The PGA tour handbook demands medical documentation if a player withdraws in the middle of the round. This documentation must reach the commissioner within fourteen days.

  • Medical Injury

A player may develop an injury that can affect his game. Many golf players have developed severe back, wrist, or shoulder pain during a game. Sometimes, a round may aggravate existing injuries. Medical injuries may cause players to go out for a few rounds or leave the tournament altogether. This situation is a Justified Withdrawal (JWD). The criteria for JWD may differ in various tournaments. 

  • Personal or Family Emergency

Family emergencies may also count as JWD in some tournaments. Death or a birth in the family during the game can distract the player and may require the player to withdraw from the game. 

The PGA tour recognizes family emergencies as grounds for Justified Withdrawal. 

  • Poor Performance During a Game

Sometimes, a player is off their game, and that could leave them at the bottom of the leaderboard. Some players cannot handle this and may decide to bow out and state an injury or illness as the cause. This is a suspicious withdrawal and does not count as a legitimate reason before the PGA tour body.

Rarely, financial reasons also require a player to withdraw. All golf bodies strongly discourage suspicious withdrawals and expect players to complete the game. 

When Can a Player Withdraw from a Tournament?

Every tournament has a cancellation deadline, and players that wish to withdraw must do so before the deadline. However, circumstances can cause a player to withdraw against his will. A JWD typically does not attract penalties from the committee.

What Does a Withdrawal Mean for a Player?

GolfA player who withdraws may not get paid at the end of the tournament. Only players who completed the event have their share of the money. Withdrawal could also mean a loss of ranking points on the leaderboard that could cause future exemptions.

Withdrawal affects the players and teammates as well as brands and sponsors. Sponsors pay a lot of money to have their chosen players in the game and can leave very disappointed if they withdraw. Brands also advertise their products with their favorite players and may lose coverage if they withdraw. More so, spectators who have waited to see their favorite players on the field end up disappointed. 


Seeing a WD on the scoreboard should no longer confuse you. A WD or withdrawal may not have direct penalties, but the consequence can be negative. A player withdrawing from the game can affect other players, brands, spectators, and sponsors. Many golfers compete rigorously to get a spot in a tournament. Also, if a player withdraws from the game after a bad play, that is unfair to other players. 

There are some cases where a withdrawal is justified. Family emergencies or personal injuries or illnesses are grounds for a JWD. In such cases, a JWD is the best method to prevent damage to a player’s career or the tournament. Players should do their best to assess their physical condition or ensure they have a clear calendar before entering a tournament.

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