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open championship playoff format

Open Championship playoff format

Here’s what you need to know should The Open go to extra holes

 

The playoff format of the Open Championship, devised to resolve a tie after the scheduled rounds, brings an extra dash of excitement and strategy to the tournament. The format has seen various changes over the years, enhancing the suspense for both the players and spectators alike.

In this brief overview, we’ll touch upon the essentials of this playoff format, its evolution, and some notable instances. It’s been a little while since The Open went to extra holes – and we wait to see if that will be the outcome this year.

A playoff is an exciting way to complete a major championship, especially to find out who lifts the Claret Jug. Here is The Open playoff format…

What is The Open Championship playoff format?

The format for the playoff that could take place at Royal Troon is really straightforward.

The players that finish in a tie for the lead after 72 holes of stroke play will head back onto the course to play a four-hole aggregate playoff.

The player with the lowest aggregate score in the four additional holes will be crowned Champion Golfer of the Year. If the competitors remain tied after the regulation play-off, those remaining will play sudden death until we have a champion.

This is different from the US Open which determines a winner in a two-hole aggregate playoff if required. It used to be an 18-hole playoff before this was scrapped in 2018.

On the PGA Tour, a sudden-death format is usually adopted where players just continue hole by hole. As soon as a player wins a hole, the playoff is over.

However, the amount of holes that are played in an Open playoff is decided by the Open Championships Committee. In 2019 and 2021, three holes would have been used if a playoff was required.

In the event of a tie for first place in 2024, there will be a four-hole play-off over the 1st, 2nd, 17th and 18th holes. If still tied, a hole-by-hole play-off will be played over the 18th hole only until a winner emerges.

Royal Troon is one of the best golf courses in the UK, and has seen winners such as Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer, but when was the last Open playoff?

open championship playoff format

ALSO: Everything you need to know about The Open

When was the last play-off?

There have been 21 play-offs to decide who will win The Open – with a quarter of them in this century, and the last time was at St Andrews in 2015 when Zach Johnson eased out Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a four-hole playoff.

The past couple of decades have seen some infamous playoff battles at The Open.

Who can forget Stewart Cink seeing off then-59-year-old Tom Watson at Turnberry in 2009? Or Paul Lawrie’s stunning 4-iron at Carnoustie in 1999 to beat Justin Leonard and Jean van de Velde following the Frenchman’s spectacular meltdown at the 72nd?

1876: Bob Martin beat Davie Strath
1883: Willie Fernie beat Bob Ferguson
1889: Willie Park Jr beat Andrew Kirkaldy
1896: Harry Vardon beat JH Taylor
1911: Harry Vardon beat Arnaud Massy
1921: Jock Hutchison beat Roger Wethered
1933: Denny Shute beat Craig Wood
1949: Bobby Locke beat Harry Bradshaw
1958: Peter Thomson beat Dave Thomas
1963: Bob Charles beat Phil Rodgers
1970: Jack Nicklaus beat Doug Sanders
1975: Tom Watson beat Jack Newton
1989: Mark Calcavecchia beat Wayne Grady and Greg Norman
1995: John Daly beat Costantino Rocca
1998: Mark O’Meara beat Brian Watts
1999: Paul Lawrie beat Justin Leonard and Jean van de Velde
2002: Ernie Els beat Stuart Appleby, Steve Elkington and Thomas Levet
2004: Todd Hamilton beat Ernie Els
2007: Padraig Harrington beat Sergio Garcia
2009: Stewart Cink beat Tom Watson
2015: Zach Johnson beat Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen

NOW READ: How to qualify for The Open
NOW READ: The 2024 Open Championship Field

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NOW READ: Future Open Championship venues

NOW READ: The history of The Open: The story of the first-ever Open

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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