How to Play the Eliminator Golf Tournament Format

Eliminator is a golf tournament format for 4-person teams, and is a best-ball format with a twist: As a player's score is used for the team score, he is eliminated from counting as the team score on ensuing holes, until only one player is left whose score is eligible to be used. Then the process starts over.

If you have any familiarity with a format called In the Bucket (or Sucker in the Bucket), then you already know Eliminator. They are the same thing.

How the Eliminator Format Works on the Course

Let's do an example, and once you've read through it you'll understand exactly how Eliminator works.

We have a four-person team, and we'll call our players Golfer A, Golfer B, Golfer C and Golfer D. On the first hole, all four golfers tee off and play their own golf balls into the hole. Scoring is best ball, so the lowest of the four golfers' scores counts as the team score.

Let's say Golfer A had the lowest score of the four. So Golfer A's score is the team score for the first hole. But now Golfer A in ineligible to provide the team score on the second hole. Golfer A is, in other words, eliminated from counting (although A can still play the second hole).

So on the second hole, only one of Golfer B, C or D can provide the team score. Let's say on Hole 2 Golfer D has the best score of the remaining three. Now Golfer D joins Golfer A as eliminated from providing the team score.

On to the third hole, and now just Golfer B and Golfer C are eligible to count as the team score. And maybe Golfer C has the lower of the two players' scores.

And that leaves Golfer B, in our example, as the last golfer standing: On the fourth hole, Golfer B's score must be the team's score because A, C and D have been eliminated from counting.

On the fifth hole? Start the process over: All four golfers are once again eligible to provide the team score.

There will be four times through the rotation, and the 17th and 18th holes will be left over. On those two holes, just play regular best ball (the one low ball counts as the team score, all four golfers playing both holes).

Eliminator Format Variations

There are a couple ways you sometimes see Eliminator varied. These are not necessarily common variations, but some golfers like to throw something different into the mix.

One variation: If there are any ties for low score on a hole, then all those tied are eliminated from counting on the following hole. This just speeds up the rotation.

And a variation on that variation: If two or more golfers tie for low score on the same hole, they are eliminated from the next hole. But on the hole after that, all four are eligible again.

Another variation: If the team's low score on a hole is a birdie or better, then all four team members are eligible again on the following hole.

More golf formats:

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