PGA Championship Playoff Format, Holes and Rules

What happens when the final round of the PGA Championship ends with two or more golfers tied for the lead? Those golfers face each other in a playoff. Here is the PGA Championship playoff format currently in use:
  • The golfers who are tied immediately proceed, after the end of the final round, into a playoff.
  • The playoff is scheduled for three holes, with aggregate score determining the winner after the third extra hole.
  • If two or more golfers remain tied after three holes, those golfers continue playing sudden-death: one hole at a time, until one of them wins a hole outright.
To recap: If the PGA Championship requires a playoff, it is a three-hole, aggregate-score playoff.

(Note: If you are looking for the format of "regular" PGA Tour tournaments, see What Is the Playoff Format on the PGA Tour?)

The PGA Championship used the current format for the first time in the 2000 PGA Championship. Prior to that, a sudden-death format was used beginning in 1977; and prior to that the tournament used an 18-hole, next-day format. You can see the results of every playoff in tournament history by checking the list of PGA Championship playoffs and winners. (Note that in the event's match play era, the golfers in the championship match just kept playing until one of them won outright.)

Which holes are used? The PGA of America makes that call, and it might differ from year to year depending on the layout of the golf course. The tournament wants three holes that are easy for everyone (players, officials, on-site fans) to get to, and to move around on.

And the PGA wants the final hole to bring everyone back to the clubhouse area. In the 2011 PGA Championship, the holes used were 16, 17 and 18. In the 2010 PGA Championship, it was 10, 17 and 18.

Who tees off first on the first playoff hole? The order of play on the first playoff hole is determined by the players drawing numbers.

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