Here’s the U.S. Open Playoff Format If Needed Sunday at Pinehurst No. 2

The U.S. Open switched years ago to a two-hole aggregate playoff format but has yet to use it.
Bryson DeChambeau hits from the 2nd tee box during the final round of the U.S. Open.
Bryson DeChambeau hits from the 2nd tee box during the final round of the U.S. Open. / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

PINEHURST, N.C. — The U.S. Open hasn’t had a playoff since the famous 2008 edition at Torrey Pines where Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole Monday playoff.

The 18-hole playoff has been since retired by the United States Golf Association, but its new format has not been needed—yet.

That format is a two-hole aggregate-score playoff, and at Pinehurst No. 2 would include the par-3 17th and par-4 18th holes. Lowest combined score for the two holes would win, and if players remained tied after that a sudden-death playoff would decide the champion.

Other majors use aggregate-score playoffs of varying lengths. A three-hole format was used for the first time in a PGA Championship in 2000, where Tiger Woods defeated Bob May in a epic duel at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky in the midst of his “Tiger Slam.”

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 playoff in the Masters was in 2017 and won by Sergio Garcia and the British Open had one two years earlier, won by Zach Johnson in a four-hole aggregate format.


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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.