What is the Masters playoff format and rules?
CMC Masters

What is the Masters playoff format and rules? Previous playoffs explained

A photo of an Augusta National Golf Club green jacket

If the Masters goes to a playoff, there will be extra holes at Augusta National for the first time since 2017, when Sergio Garcia beat Justin Rose in a playoff.

The Masters playoff format is sudden-death, making it the only major championship decided that way.

The first playoff hole will be No. 18, with the 10th hole becoming the second playoff hole if there are players remaining after the first hole. The players then alternate between the 18th and 10th holes until a champion is crowned.

The Masters has used a sudden-death playoff since 1976, with that first playoff coming in 1979, when Fuzzy Zoeller won. Prior to then, the playoff was 18 holes. Originally, it was 36 holes. The hope is that a sudden-death playoff will result in determining a winner quickly and on Sunday evening, meaning the green jacket ceremony can happen on the grounds of Augusta National while the largest audience in golf is still watching instead of forcing the tournament to a Monday finish and having perhaps a smaller number of patrons on-hand and TV viewers to see the tournament's completion.

Masters Tournament playoffs are rare in the relative history of the tournament. All told, there have been 10 sudden-death playoffs in Masters history. There have been 16 total playoffs, including six played as either 18- or 36-hole matches.

However, recent memory shows playoffs are more frequent. There have been six Masters playoffs in the last 25 years, but there has only been one in the last decade.

Sudden-death playoffs in Masters history

  • 2017: Sergio Garcia (3) def. Justin Rose (5)
  • 2013: Adam Scott (4-3) def. Angel Cabrera (4-4)
  • 2012: Bubba Watson (4-4) def. Louis Oosthuizen (4-5)
  • 2009: Angel Cabrera (4-4) def. Kenny Perry (4-5) and Chad Campbell (5)
  • 2005: Tiger Woods (3) def. Chris DiMarco (4)
  • 2003: Mike Weir (5 on No. 10) def. Len Mattiace (6)
  • 1990: Nick Faldo (5-3) def. Scott Hoch (5-4)
  • 1987: Larry Mize (4-3) def. Greg Norman (4-4) and Seve Ballestero (5)
  • 1982: Craig Stadler (4) def. Dan Pohl (5)
  • 1979: Fuzzy Zoeller (4-3) def. Ed Sneed (4-4) and Tom Watson (4-4)

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