When Was the Last 18-Hole Playoff on the PGA Tour?

Today, all PGA Tour playoffs (except majors and The Players Championship) use the sudden-death format. But once upon a time, 18-hole playoffs were the standard. The last 18-hole playoff of any kind on the PGA Tour was in a major championship, but what about at non-major tour events? What was the last 18-hole playoff at a non-major?

That major championship with the last 18-hole playoff was the 2008 U.S. Open. There, Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate played the 18 extra holes and were still tied. So they continued into sudden death, and Woods won it on the first sudden-death hole (the 19th overall playoff hole).

All of the majors have, before or after that Woods-Mediate playoff, switched away from 18-hole playoffs. And most regular (non-major) PGA Tour tournaments stopped using 18-holers a long time ago. By the early 1960s, 18-hole playoffs had become scarce on the PGA Tour. Soon, they disappeared completely from regular tour stops.

The Last 18-Hole Playoffs on the PGA Tour

After 1965, there were only six more times in PGA Tour history that a regular (non-major) tournament ended with an 18-hole playoff. The very last one was at the 1972 Tucson Open. At that tournament, Miller Barber became the last PGA Tour golfer to win an 18-hole, non-major playoff. He beat George Archer in that playoff. Miller and Archer were still tied after 18 holes at 72, so they continued into sudden-death holes. Barber won it on the third such hole (21st hole overall). Archer had won the second-to-last PGA Tour 18-hole playoff just two weeks earlier at the Los Angeles Open.

These are the last six, non-major 18-hole, PGA Tour playoffs:

  • 1966 Tournament of Champions: Arnold Palmer defeated Gay Brewer, 69 to 73.
  • 1967 Canadian Open: Billy Casper defeated Art Wall, 65 to 69.
  • 1969 Canadian Open: Tommy Aaron defeated Sam Snead, 70 to 72. Note that Snead was 57 years old; his final PGA Tour win was in 1965.
  • 1970 Greater Jacksonville Open: Don January defeated Dale Douglass, 69 to 72.
  • 1972 Glen Campbell Los Angeles Open: George Archer (66) defeated Tommy Aaron (68) and Dave Hill (68).
  • 1972 Tucson Open: Miller Barber defeated George Archer on third sudden-death hole after they had tied with 72s in the 18-hole playoff.

What About 36-Hole Playoffs?

Yes, some PGA Tour tournaments, including majors, played 36-hole playoffs, but those were always far less common than 18-holers. The last 36-hole playoff was at the 1963 British Open, where Bob Charles beat Phil Rodgers, 140 to 148. The last regular PGA Tour tournament to employ a 36-hole playoff was the 1947 All American Open, where Bobby Locke beat Ed Oliver.

Popular posts from this blog

Ryder Cup Captains: The Full List