USGA changes playoff format for U.S. Open, its other Opens

2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur Scott Halleran/Getty Images

USGA changes playoff format for U.S. Open, its other Opens

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USGA changes playoff format for U.S. Open, its other Opens

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The U.S. Golf Association announced Monday that all four of its Open championships will have a revised playoff format.

Starting in 2018, the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Senior Women’s Open will implement a two-hole aggregate playoff in the event of a tie at the end of 72 holes of stroke play.

If players are still tied after the two-hole playoff, the extra-holes session will then move to sudden death.

“We know how important it is to everyone in the golf world to see play conclude on the Sunday of a major championship, and to award the trophy to the champion,” said Mike Davis, the USGA’s CEO and executive director. “After receiving input from a variety of constituents, including players, fans, volunteers, officials and our broadcast partners, it clearly came across as something that everyone valued, and would benefit from.”

The U.S. Open, which at one time held 36-hole aggregate playoffs before moving to 18, will move away from an 18-hole aggregate playoff to the new two-hole format. The last U.S. Open to go to a playoff was in 2008, when Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate tied in the 18 extra holes, but Woods prevailed on a sudden death 19th hole.

The U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open moved away from an 18-hole playoff in 2007 and 1999, respectively. Both changed to a three-hole playoff format, which will be reduced to two now starting in 2018.

The inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open was also slated for a three-hole playoff format in 2018 before the Monday announcement of the change.

The two-hole playoff is not quite sudden death, like the Masters, but it’s not as lengthy as the playoff formats of the Open Championship (four-hole aggregate playoff) and the PGA Championship (three-hole aggregate playoff).

Davis explained the reasoning behind the two-hole format in particular.

“Two holes will allow a player to recover from any single mistake, and at the same time, provide a memorable, and perhaps dramatic, experience for all involved,” Davis said.

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