What is the US Open play-off format?

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What happens if 72 holes isn't enough to separate the players at the top of the leaderboard?

There hasn’t been a play-off in golf’s toughest test in over 10 years so when the scenario comes around, it will be handy knowing what the US Open play-off format, especially after it was changed in 2018.

When was the last US Open play-off?

The last US Open play-off was in 2008 when Tiger Woods famously holed a putt on the 72nd hole of the tournament to force a play-off with Rocco Mediate.

US Open play-off format

The pair returned to Torrey Pines on the Monday and played 18 extra holes and still couldn’t be separated. Tiger won the extra hole after the play-off to win his 14th major title.

What is the current US Open play-off format?

In 2018 the US Open play-off format changed from an 18 hole play-off on the Monday, the format that was used for Tiger and Mediate’s play-off in 2008.

There were positives towards the use of the 18 hole format, specifically at the 1994 tournament when Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els and Loren Roberts were in the Monday play-off.

Each type of play-off would have produced a different result e.g. using an aggregate play-off or sudden death. However, the USGA felt that the use of an 18 hole play-off helped determine a player who performed better on another full day rather than over two or three holes, like it successfully did in 1994.

On the matter, chief executive of the USGA, Mike Davies said, “I don’t think in the foreseeable future you will see a change in the 18-hole US Open playoff.”.

Despite this, the US Open play-off format has been changed to a two-hole aggregate play-off. This means that if two or players are tied at the top of the leaderboard then they will play two holes selected by the USGA and the player with the lowest score over the two holes will be crowned the champion.

If there is still a tie then the players still level on scorer will go into a sudden death play-off.

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