U.S. Open playoff format: Rules, holes played, history

Here’s how a playoff will be decided at Brookline.

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The 2022 U.S. Open is coming down to the wire and, if course history is any indication, it might need to be decided by a playoff.

All three previous U.S. Opens at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., were decided by a playoff, with Curtis Strange beating Nick Faldo in the last in 1988. If a playoff happened this Sunday, however, it wouldn’t be the 18-hole Monday variety we’ve seen in years past.

In 2018, the USGA announced it would no longer use the 18-hole playoff but instead a two-hole aggregate playoff.

“We know how important it is to 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 then-USGA CEO Mike Davis, at the time. “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.”

The last U.S. Open playoff was in 2008, when Tiger Woods beat Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines, so the men’s game still hasn’t used the new format.

If Sunday’s U.S. Open heads to playoff, they’ll play the par-4 1st hole and par-4 18th hole, which run parallel to each other. The lowest total score on the two holes wins. If still tied, then they’ll play sudden death.

The U.S. Open is the only major with this format. The Open Championship uses a four-hole aggregate playoff, the PGA Championship a three-hole aggregate playoff, and the Masters a sudden-death playoff.

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Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.