What Is The US Open Playoff Format?

If there's a playoff at the 2022 US Open it'll follow a format that was introduced four years ago

The US Open trophy at The Country Club, Brookline
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the final round of the 2022 US Open at The Country Club under way, the leaderboard remains tight. Therefore, there is a relatively strong chance of a playoff to determine the 2022 winner of the third Major of the year. But what is the format of any playoff if there's a tie for the lead after the regulation 72 holes?

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The answer used to be an 18 hole playoff. That meant the players tied at the top after the final round would return the next day to play 18 more holes to determine the winner. That last happened back in 2008 when Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate competed in an 18-hole play off at Torrey Pines. Even that couldn't separate the pair, with the playoff going into sudden death, and Woods claiming victory on the first extra hole.

Rocco Mediate shakes Tiger Woods' hand before the 2008 US Open playoff at Torrey Pines

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In 2018 the decision was taken to change the playoff format to a two-hole aggregate. That means if there's a playoff in 2022, any players tied after 72 holes will play the first and 18th holes to decide the winner. If the players can't be separated at that point, it then enters sudden death, with the competitors playing the same two holes again until one eventually wins a hole.

As for the holes selected for any playoff, they're both par 4s. The 488-yard first is a demanding dogleg left with a narrow fairway leading to a typically small green protected by three bunkers. Meanwhile, the 451-yard 18th features a huge bunker in front of a significantly sloping green from back to front.

If we do have a playoff, it'll be the first since the two-hole aggregate format was introduced. In fact, that epic between Woods and Mediate was the most recent US Open playoff, one of 33 in the tournament's 127-year history. The US Open is also the only Major with the two-hole aggregate playoff format. The Masters has sudden death, The Open has a four-hole aggregate and the PGA Championship has a three-hole aggregate format.

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.