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Jordan Spieth and Matt Fitzpatrick

Is there a better way to decide a golf tournament than a playoff?

Extra holes can be a long, drawn out affair. Surely there's an easier – and ultimately more entertaining – way to decide a winner. Alex Perry and Matt Chivers have some ideas
 

PGA Tour playoffs can be exciting and filled with drama. They an also be a bit of a slog.

Fans – particularly on this side of the Atlantic – don’t want to stay up to the small hours to watch an extra 45 minutes of golf. So imagine how the players feel.

The most recent example, at the time of writing was at the RBC Heritage as Matt Fitzpatrick and Jordan Spieth refused to give each other an inch at Harbour Town. The Englishman eventually secured victory by almost holing his approach on the third playoff hole.

But with both players essentially going through the motions with their tee shots, the drama was from the fairway. So is it time to implement a new format that suits both the players and spectators?

Is there a way for the PGA Tour playoff format to be more entertaining?

As the PGA Tour schedule has undergone significant changes in 2023, maybe it’s time to turn their attention to tweaking the format of playoffs.

Here’s what we would do…

‘Give playoffs more of a penalty shootout feel’

Every single fan on the property is on the last hole to see the end of the tournament, writes Alex Perry. Those guys don’t want to walk to another hole to watch a playoff – so it should always be on the 18th.

I would have a drop area called something like a “Playoff Zone” – we can work on the name – that’s 150 yards out, and players just playing from that spot until there’s a winner.

Or we could make it more fun and make it almost like a penalty shootout in football. From the Playoff Zone, each player hits a number of shots – say three or five – with only balls finding the green staying in play, and whoever holes the most birdies wins.

So each player hits three shots into the green, they all get marked, closest to the pin gets to choose who putts first, then they take it in turns to putt one ball each alternatively, and the order in which they hit their three balls is entirely up to them to add an extra tactical element.

Simply, whoever takes the least amount of putts to drain their balls wins.

‘Let’s inject some fun into the situation!’

I would just let the DP World Tour’s brilliant social media team decide it, writes Matt Chivers. They run those incredible features, like the 14-club challenge where once a player uses a club, they aren’t allowed to use it again.

So if a player hits, say, a driver off the tee then a 7-iron into the green, they can’t use those clubs again should the playoff continue to another hole.

It would certainly add a more fun element to proceedings. Tell me you wouldn’t be hooked on that.

The Slam: Fixing slow play and the PGA Tour playoff format

We chatted about this in more detail on the latest episode of The Slam – a National Club Golfer podcast in association with Callaway.

We also discussed slow play, Rory McIlroy’s controversial WD, and much more!

You can use the button or the player below to listen to this episode of The Slam, or you can find it wherever you normally get your podcasts.

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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