Golf-USGA scraps 18-hole playoff format for U.S. Open
Feb 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Open's 18-hole playoff format will be scrapped in favor of a two-hole aggregate, the United States Golf Association (USGA) said on Monday after calls to move the tournament more in line with the other three majors.
The change, which also affects the U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Senior Women's Open, takes effect immediately in the event of a tie after 72 holes of stroke play.
If players are tied after the two-hole playoff, the extra-holes session will switch to sudden death.
"We know how important it is to everyone in the golf world to see play conclude on the Sunday of a major championship, and to award the trophy to the champion," USGA chief executive Mike Davis said on Monday.
"After receiving input from a variety of constituents, including players, fans, volunteers, officials and our broadcast partners, it clearly came across as something that everyone valued, and would benefit from."
The last U.S. Open decided by a playoff was in 2008 at Torrey Pines where Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate were tied after 18 extra holes. Woods prevailed on a sudden death 19th hole to collect the most recent of his 14 majors.
In its 117-year history, the U.S. Open has been settled by a playoff on 33 occasions, by 18-hole and 36-hole formats.
The Masters scrapped its 18-hole playoff in 1976 in favor of sudden death, followed by the PGA Championship a year later. The British Open adopted a four-hole playoff in 1986. The PGA Championship has since changed to a three-hole aggregate.
Davis said there was "no right or wrong way" to determine a winner in stroke play, but felt a two-hole playoff allowed a player to recover from a bad shot.
"Two holes will allow a player to recover from any single mistake and, at the same time, provide a memorable, and perhaps dramatic, experience for all involved," said Davis.
This year's U.S. Open will be played from June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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