Here’s the Playoff Format If Needed to Decide the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla

The first three-hole aggregate playoff in a PGA was in 2000 at Valhalla, won by Tiger Woods.
A three-hole aggregate playoff format is in use at the PGA Championship.
A three-hole aggregate playoff format is in use at the PGA Championship. / Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Valhalla Golf Club is no stranger to playoffs in majors, and if there’s one Sunday at the PGA Championship it will be in a format seen before at the Kentucky course.

A possible playoff would use a three-hole aggregate format at the par-4 13th, par-4 17th and par-4 18th holes, with the lowest total score winning.

That three-hole format was used for the first time in a PGA Championship in 2000, when Valhalla hosted and Tiger Woods defeated Bob May in a epic duel in the midst of his “Tiger Slam.”

That was the second PGA playoff at Valhalla, as in 1996 Mark Brooks defeated Kenny Perry on the 18th hole when playoffs were decided by sudden death. Perry finished his round early and went up to the CBS tower at 18 rather than preparing on the driving range, and when Brooks finished with a birdie from the final round to force the playoff, Perry rushed out and ultimately bogeyed the par-5 while Brooks birdied it for a second time in 20 minutes to won the title.

Valhalla also had a playoff in one of the two Senior PGA Championships it hosted, when Tom Watson defeated David Eger on the first sudden-death playoff hole in 2011. 

The PGA Championship last had a playoff in 2022, when Justin Thomas defeated Will Zalatoris in the three-hole aggregate. 

That was the most recent playoff in any major. The last one in the Masters was in 2017 and won by Sergio Garcia and the British Open had one two years earlier, won by Zach Johnson.

The U.S. Open has not seen a playoff since Tiger Woods’s famous 18-hole Monday win over Rocco Mediate in 2008 at Torrey Pines. The U.S. Open has abandoned that format but hasn’t yet needed to use its new two-hole aggregate playoff.

Should players at Valhalla be tied after the three-hole aggregate, the playoff would advance to sudden death on the 18th hole, then if needed go to the 13th, 17th and 18th again.

And by that point, the PGA Championship would be ending Monday. 


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John Schwarb

JOHN SCHWARB

John Schwarb is the senior golf editor for Sports Illustrated whose career has spanned more than 25 years covering sports. He’s been featured on ESPN.com, PGATour.com, The Golfers Journal and Tampa Bay Times. He’s also the author of The Little 500: The Story of the World's Greatest College Weekend. A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, John is based in Indianapolis.