Playoff (golf)

A playoff in the sport of golf is an extra hole, or holes, played when, at the completion of regulation play in a competition or tournament, there is a tie and it is desirable to determine an outright winner.

Playoffs are a common occurrence in professional tournaments when the players are readily available to participate at the completion of normal play. However, in most[ which?] amateur tournaments, and particularly in club competitions, that is not the case and other methods may be used to determine the winner, such as scorecard count back, whereby the player with the lowest cumulative score over the last 18, 9, 6, 3 or 1 hole(s) is declared the winner.[ citation needed]

There are three types of playoff that are used in golf tournaments. They are a full 18-hole playoff, sudden death, and an aggregate playoff. The first is normally scheduled for the following day, whereas both the others are usually played directly after completion of the final round.

Sudden death

Sudden death is the most common playoff format in stroke play tournaments and even more so in match play tournaments. The tied participants play one extra hole at a time, with those still tied for the lowest score moving on to the next hole until a winner has been determined. All regular PGA Tour and European Tour tournaments use this system (except for The Players Championship starting in 2014), as does the Masters Tournament. The PGA Championship also used the sudden death format from 1977 to 1999. [1] A player who wins in matchplay after n playoff holes is said to have won "at the (18+n)th hole" — or "(36+n)th hole" in the increasingly rare case of a 36-hole match.

Many supporters, including veteran golfer Kenny Perry, support this type of play, feeling that it is best to let momentum decide the match. [2] Tiger Woods, when interviewed immediately after his 2008 U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines, stated that "as a player who's playing well, you want to go more holes. The better player usually wins in more holes. That's how I've always approached it. The more holes you give me, if I'm playing well, I want more holes. Not just one hole, or even three." [2] Others, such as professional golfer Chris DiMarco, [2] claim that it is not fair to gruel through 72 holes and lose the tournament on one bad swing in sudden death.

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