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USGA says goodbye to 18-hole playoffs at the U.S. Open

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The next time the U.S. Open is decided in a playoff, you won’t have to tune in Monday. You also won’t have to watch 18 holes of golf. Starting this year, the USGA is scrapping the round-long Monday playoff for a two-hole aggregate playoff.

All four of the USGA’s Open championships will feature the two-hole aggregate format (followed by a sudden-death playoff if players are tied).

“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.”

“I could have used this rule change in 2008,” you can hear Tiger Woods saying. There hasn’t been an 18-hole playoff since a hobbled Woods defeated Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines a decade ago.

“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 playoff formats for each of the four majors are now as follows.

  • Masters: Sudden-death
  • U.S. Open: 2-hole aggregate score
  • Open Championship: 4-hole aggregate score
  • PGA Championship: 3-hole aggregate score

Here’s Davis explaining the changes in a bit of #OriginalContent from the USGA.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Sam the Loaf

    Mar 3, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    The USGA messed up again. Players at the highest level need to play a 36 hole qualifier, 72 hole regulation on three different courses with a 36 hole playoff on an entirely new course. That would separate the men from the boys.

  2. dat

    Mar 2, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I can’t blame them. The USGA needs to do everything possible to get their tournament in order after the last two years.

  3. Happyday_J

    Feb 26, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Personally I think all Majors should be multiple holes, but the key is:
    One dogleg left, one right and either a straight hole or par 3 (if a 3rd hole).

    This way you don’t have a playoff hole that may favour a player with a certain shot shape. I feel this happened in the 2017 Masters, 18th hole set up for a cut, Sergio’s bread and butter, while Rose favours a draw.

    Just seems silly that a golfer is tested with all different shapes and shots throughout the day, while it can get decided by one type of hole.

    Two holes work , as long as they alternate directions. I think the Masters should go to this, play 18 and 10.

  4. Travis

    Feb 26, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    I would have liked to see a 3 or 4 hole playoff like the Open and PGA. 3-4 holes usually allows (typically) for a Par 5, Par 3, and two Par 4’s. That way, no certain type of player has an advantage on any particular type of hole, and any player can come through. Two holes seems a little too short for something as important as a Major Championship to be decided on…

    • Simms

      Feb 27, 2018 at 10:26 am

      The better player is going to come through on the first hole…..

  5. Speedy

    Feb 26, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    I’m for Nine & Dine.

  6. Acemandrake

    Feb 26, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    It used to be a 36-hole playoff.

    • Josh

      Feb 26, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      That clearly was too much as they shortened it. Now they’re shortening it again. Very surprised to see 2 holes decided upon as there’s already precedent for 3-hole playoffs (The Open) and 4-hole playoffs (PGA)

      • ROY

        Feb 27, 2018 at 10:47 am

        well guess thats why they did 2 – USGA cant copy anyone….

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5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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