May
7
2014
3-hole playoff the plan at The Players
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour
The famed island green on no. 17

The famed island green on no. 17

In case you missed the memo last month, the PGA Tour announced that in the event of a tie at the end of regulation at The Players Championship, there will be a three-hole aggregate playoff. Which holes will they play? Well, the final three, of course. 

If the players are still tied after playing nos. 16, 17 and 18 again, the playoff defaults to sudden death, starting on the 17th and followed by 18-16-17-18 and so on until a champion is decided.

This is the inaugural year in the history of the tournament that a three-hole playoff system will be put in place.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Adam Scott. “I think that’s pretty exciting.  It’s a pretty exciting three holes.  When it’s head-to-head like that, I think anything can happen, and no matter what, there’s going to be some drama.  Someone can play three great holes and probably win by a few, if it all goes wrong for someone else.

“I think it’s a good idea and probably feel a little more comfortable walking out there knowing you’ve got three holes rather than having to pick it up on 17 and it’s all on one shot.”

The Players Championship, the PGA Tour’s flagship event, markets itself as the season’s “fifth major.” Aside from the Masters (which is sudden death), the other majors all have varying playoff formats. The U.S. Open is an 18-hole playoff the following day, of course. The new Players Championship format resembles the scheme at the PGA Championship, a three-hole aggregate playoff, while the Open Championship has a four-hole aggregate playoff.

Perhaps this is the Tour’s way of establishing more credibility as golf’s “fifth major.”

“Given the fact that winning THE PLAYERS means you have defeated the strongest field in golf, we felt an aggregate playoff that incorporated these three holes was a more appropriate way to determine the champion,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said.

Well, one thing’s for sure, a playoff shouldn’t disappoint on three of the most thrilling finishing holes in golf.

Here are some facts and figures via the PGATour.com:

Since 1983, scores on the final 3 holes on TPC Sawgrass have ranged from 1 to 12.

The stretch consists of the hole with the lowest stroke average to par (16), the most well-known hole on the course (17) and the most difficult hole on the course (18).

Hole Ranks and average score on TPC Sawgrass from 1983-2013:

• 16th hole – Par 5 4.65 (Greatest Risk-Reward Hole on Course)

• 17th hole – Par 3 3.11 (9th Toughest Hole on Course)

• 18th hole – Par 4 4.34 (Toughest Hole on Course)

Since 1983, single-round performances on the final 3 holes range from 4-under (the best) to 12-over par (the highest).

(Photo via PGATour.com)