U.S. Open: The best playoff format of golf's four Majors

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All of golf's Majors have their own playoff system. The Masters, for example, is a sudden death system.
Players start on 10, then, if necessary, move to 18 – continuing on until one wins a given hole.

The PGA and Open Championships employ aggregate playoffs. Players compete in the select amount of holes – three for the PGA, four for the Open – and then compare scores. In the event of another tie, sudden death is utilized.

And then there's the U.S. Open, an island unto itself. The only Major to employ an 18-hole playoff.

Yep, one of the best quirks of the U.S. Open is that in the event of a tie things aren't settled in the waning hours of daylight. Players go home, get one more good night of rest and come back on Monday to play an extra round. From 72-hole tournament to 90. Should there be a tie after 90 holes, the event then turns to a sudden death contest.

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U.S. Open: The best playoff format of golf's four Majors
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waits on the 16th green as a train passes behind during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Dustin Johnson of the United States walks through the rough on the tenth hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, stands on the fairway on the 16th hole during the first round of the U.S.Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Thursday, June 18, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Fans line the 14th fairway during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Thursday, June 18, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Phil Mickelson lines up his putt on the 17th hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Thursday, June 18, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Matt Every hits out of the bunker on the seventh hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Thursday, June 18, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, stands on the fairway on the 16th hole during the first round of the U.S.Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Thursday, June 18, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Seuk Hyun Baek, of South Korea, hits from rough on the seventh hole during the first round of the U.S. Opengolf tournament at Chambers Bay on Thursday, June 18, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Matt York)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Victor Dubuisson of France hits a tee shot during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Josh Persons of the United States hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Amateur Cole Hammer of the United States lines up a putt during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: LPGA player Natalie Gulbis reports from the course for Fox Sports during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Alex Kim of the United States smiles on the sixth tee during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Dustin Johnson of the United States putts on the 14th green as Sergio Garcia of Spain looks on during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland hits his second shot on the 14th hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Cole Hammer of the United States plays his third shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Sergio Garcia of Spain hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Seuk Hyun Baek of Korea is greeted by his caddie Rukchart Loetchala on the fifth green during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Cole Hammer of the United States talks to caddie Gregg Hammer after playing his third shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Phil Mickelson of the United States hits his second shot on the 13th hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Bubba Watson of the United States hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Hideki Matsuyama of Japan walks with his caddie Daisuke Shindo on the 14th hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Angel Cabrera of Argentina hits his tee shot on the tenth hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Bernd Wiesberger of Austria plays a bunker shot during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Bubba Watson of the United States hits his tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 18: Matt Kuchar of the United States hits an approach shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The 18-hole playoff is a thrill for several reasons. One, it's an extra round of golf. What's better than four rounds of a Major? How about five. Beyond that, it extends the drama across 18 holes. The Masters is thrilling because one bad swing can cost a player the Green Jacket, but it's a punctuated excitement. In the Open and PGA Championships, a player might pull the holes he's either exceptional at, or the opposite. There's strategy, but on the short end.

With the U.S. Open, golfers can compete in the long game. One or two bad holes won't bury them. They can perry and thrust throughout the morning and afternoon, with drama waxing in waning on every swing of the club head. Storylines unfold throughout the day.

The latest U.S. Open Playoff, which also happened to be a sudden death, was in 2008 when a one-legged Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines.


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