Longest Sudden-Death Playoffs Ever on the Champions Tour

Sudden-death playoffs are supposed to end quickly. That's why they are called "sudden death," after all. But in the history of the Champions Tour, there have been several sudden-death playoffs that were anything but over suddenly. Playoffs that lasted a lot longer than such playoffs typically last.

And the golfer who won the longest such playoff in Champions Tour history is David Graham.

List of Longest Champions Tour Playoffs

  • 10 holes — David Graham defeated Dave Stockton, 1998 Royal Caribbean Classic
  • 9 holes — Jose Maria Canizares defeated Gil Morgan, 2001 Toshiba Senior Classic
  • 9 holes — Bob Murphy defeated Jay Sigel, 1997 Toshiba Senior Classic
  • 8 holes — Orville Moody defeated Bob Betley, 1992 Franklin Showdown Classic

Graham's 10-Hole Win

Graham was 51 years old and Stockton 56 at the time of their playoff in 1998. Graham entered the final round trailing Stockton by four, and still trained by three strokes with three holes to play at Crandon Park Golf Club in Key Biscayne, Fla.

But Graham finished the final round with three consecutive birdies and tied Stockton atop the leaderboard at 11-under 202.

So into the sudden-death playoff they went. After matching pars the first three extra holes, it appeared as if Graham had it won on the fourth hole when he hit an approach shot to three feet. But Stockton, known for a great short game, chipped in from 22 feet.

So they kept going. And going. And going. Finally, on the 10th extra hole, Graham followed a 290-yard drive with an approach to less than one foot. When Stockton's chip, this time, didn't fall, Stockton picked up his ball and Graham tapped in for the win.

Related articles:

New York Times. "Graham wins longest playoff," February 2, 1998, https://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/02/sports/plus-golf-senior-caribbean-classic-graham-wins-longest-playoff.html
PGA Tour Champions. Official 2016 Guide.

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