Sep
10
2012
The longest playoff ever finally ends on 16th hole…16 hours later
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA

If you tuned in to watch the never-ending LPGA playoff on Sunday night, then you probably shared my frustration for several reasons, along with my appreciation for the fine play and duel between Jiyai Shin and Paula Creamer at Kingsmill.

I expressed most of my opinions on the matter over at PGA Tour Confidential and/or on Twitter, but I’ll reiterate: I understand the LPGA wanted to maximize the fan experience by making the playoff hole the 18th (apparently it would have been too difficult for fans to trudge across to the 17th), but playing the same hole — a difficult and long par-4 with a tough pin tucked on the back shelf of the green — eight times until the visibility was close to zero was absurd. And I’m pretty sure the fans would have been willing to tromp around when it was still light if it meant watching one of the girls win.

Shin and Creamer, who posted eight straight pars in the sudden death playoff, tried to play the 18th for 9th time, but it really was too dark. In fact, there was already hardly any day light left when they played the eighth extra hole. I admire the ladies for trying to finish for the fans, but they had to stop. It was ridiculous.

Like I said, I understand the concept of starting the playoff on the 18th and even playing it two or three times, but by the time they were still battling it out for the fourth of fifth time, it seemed a tad over the top. As the sun started to set, I kept yelling at the TV, “GO TO A PAR-3!” Or something, anything.

“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t change the pin or do something a little bit different,” Creamer said. “Next year I’m sure, and other tournaments down the road, they’ll probably change the rules about the playoff.”

You see, usually this wouldn’t be such a big deal — the longest playoff between two players in LPGA history. Thing is, the ladies had flights to catch for the season’s final major, the Ricoh Women’s British Open. They’re probably already in the UK, but they lose five hours flying across the pond, and now they’re going to be jetlagged, exhausted and scrambling to prepare.

Well, good news is the playoff finally ended — and quickly! — on Monday morning. Kudos to the hundreds of fans who came out to watch Jiyai and Paula finish their well-contested duel.

The ladies played par-4 No. 16 for the ninth extra hole to determine the Kingsmill Championship. Creamer three-putted for bogey, while Shin left her birdie putt three-feet short but made the par putt for the hard-fought victory.

Both players hadn’t won since 2010, but now Shin, the former world No. 1, has finally broken out of her winless funk.

Congrats to Jiyai — and Paula — on putting on a fine show for the fans at Kingsmill and those watching at home. Best of luck to both at the Ladies’ Women’s Open.

(L: AP Photo; R: Hunter Martin/Getty images)