Playoff Change For The Players Championship
By Torleif Sorenson on 4/16/14
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has announced a slight format change to the Players Championship, held at TPC Sawgrass outside Jacksonville, Florida. Finchem announced that any competitors tied after 72 holes will go to a three-hole aggregate playoff, then any competitors still tied after those three holes will advance to a sudden-death playoff.

The Players Championship is considered by some as the "fifth major" in men's professional golf, and Finchem and everyone at the PGA Tour obviously want The Players Championship to be treated officially as such. At least TPC Sawgrass offers three holes that are well-suited to hosting such drama; the 16th is actually the greatest risk-reward hole on the course, the island-green 17th is world-famous, albeit only the 9th toughest on the course; and the 18th hole actually rates as the toughest.

As expected, Finchem was quoted in the Tour's press release:
"Holes 16, 17 and 18 of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course are perhaps the most dramatic closing holes in professional golf from a risk-reward standpoint, as they test all facets of a player’s physical and mental game while under the pressure of trying to win such a significant championship. Given the fact that winning THE PLAYERS means you have defeated the strongest field in golf, we felt an aggregate playoff that incorporated these three holes was a more appropriate way to determine the champion."
This is the same playoff format used in the PGA Championship; the Open Championship in Great Britain uses a four-hole aggregate playoff. The Masters Tournament and all other PGA Tour events use a sudden-death playoff. Only the USGA still puts competitors through an 18-hole Monday playoff, followed by a sudden-death playoff, if necessary. That scenario was last played out on June 16, 2008, when Tiger Woods, playing with a torn ACL and a double-stress fracture of his left tibia, outlasted Rocco Mediate in arguably the most dramatic playoff in U.S. Open history.

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