PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced that beginning this year, in the event of a tie at The Players Championship, there will be a three-hole, aggregate playoff as opposed to a sudden-death playoff to determine the champion.
The playoff holes will be 16-17-18, combining a player's score on those three holes to decide the winner. If the players remain tied after the aggregate playoff, the playoff reverts to sudden death starting on 17, followed by 18-16-17-18 and so on until a winner is determined. This is the first time in tournament history that a three-hole playoff system will be used.
"Every year, we endeavor to make The Players Championship a better experience for the fans than the year before, and going to an aggregate, three-hole playoff structure continues that tradition," said The Players Executive Director Matt Rapp. "There will no doubt be more drama, more excitement and more memorable moments going forward thanks to this change."
Each of the three finishing holes presents a strong risk-reward factor. The 16th is a reachable par-5, but the green is protected on the right and back by a lake and bulkhead.
The par-3 17th has its signature island green and No. 18, with a lake running down the entire left side, annually ranks as one of the most difficult par-4 finishing holes on the PGA Tour. Over the years, the final three holes have played a significant role in separating champions from challengers.
"Holes 16, 17 and 18 of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course are perhaps the most dramatic closing holes in professional golf from a risk-reward standpoint, as they test all facets of a player's physical and mental game while under the pressure of trying to win such a significant championship," said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. "Given the fact that winning The Player 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."
The Players joins the PGA Championship in using a three-hole, aggregate playoff.
The U.S. Open is the only event to use an 18-hole playoff format; The Open Championship uses a four-hole aggregate playoff; the Masters Tournament and all other events on the PGA Tour utilize a sudden-death playoff structure.
There have been four playoffs in the 40-year history of The Players, three at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass:
- 1981 – Raymond Floyd defeated Barry Jaeckel and Curtis Strange with a par on the first playoff hole (par-3 15th, Sawgrass Country Club);
- 1987 – Sandy Lyle defeated Jeff Sluman with a par on the third playoff hole (par-5 16th, par-3 17th, par-4 18th, TPC Sawgrass);
- 2008 – Sergio Garcia defeated Paul Goydos with a par on the first playoff hole (par-3 17th, TPC Sawgrass)
- 2011 – K.J. Choi defeated David Toms with a par on the first playoff hole (par-3 17th, TPC Sawgrass)