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USGA trades 18-hole playoff for two-hole aggregate

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The USGA will no longer use an 18-hole playoff to determine its U.S. Open champion.

Beginning this year, the USGA will have a two-hole aggregate playoff in the event of a tie after 72 holes of stroke play. If the players are still tied, they’ll continue in a sudden-death format.

The playoff format will be implemented across all four of the USGA’s Open championships.

“We know how important it is for 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 USGA executive director Mike Davis. “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.”

There hasn’t been an 18-hole playoff in the U.S. Open since Tiger Woods’ stirring victory in 2008. The U.S. Women’s and Senior Opens previously used a three-hole aggregate playoff to determine its champion.

“There is no right or wrong way to determine a winner in stroke play, but we’ve seen over the years how the aggregate playoff has served us well in both the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open,” Davis said. “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.”

The Masters has a sudden-death playoff format to determine its champion, while the PGA Championship and The Open use a three- and four-hole aggregate playoff, respectively.