What is the PGA Championship playoff format?
PGA Championship

What is the PGA Championship playoff format? Previous playoffs explained

A photo of Phil Mickelson

There's a chance the PGA Championship goes to a playoff, and it might mean that we finish near the darkness using the PGA Championship playoff format.

What is the PGA Championship playoff format?

The PGA Championship playoff format isn't sudden death. Rather, it's a three-hole aggregate-score playoff, meaning that the competitors will play out the three holes and the lowest combined score will win the Wanamaker Trophy.

The playoff holes change by year and by venue because of the design of each course. At Valhalla in 2024, the playoff holes are Nos. 16, 17 and 18. If, after the three holes are played, any players are tied for the lead, then they'll transition to a sudden-death playoff to determine the PGA Championship.

The PGA of America conducts the championship each year, separate from the PGA Tour.

In PGA Championship history, the tournament has had 14 playoffs since the tournament moved to stroke play in 1958. Since moving to the three-hole aggregate-score format, there have been five playoffs, including most recently in 2022 at Southern Hills when Justin Thomas won his second PGA Championship in a playoff over Will Zalatoris.

The PGA Championship and the British Open Championship playoff format are the same, with the R&A transitioning from a four-hole total-score playoff to the PGA of America's three-hole model in the interest of time for the championship to finish.

The Masters playoff format remains a sudden-death, hole-by-hole affair, while the US Open playoff format is slightly shorter in that it's a two-hole, total-score playoff that moves to sudden death in the event of a tie.

Three-hole playoffs in PGA Championship history

  • 2022: Justin Thomas def. Will Zalatoris at Southern Hills
  • 2011: Keegan Bradley def. Jason Dufner at Atlanta Athletic Club
  • 2010: Martin Kaymer def. Bubba Watson at Whistling Straits
  • 2004: Vijay Singh def. Chris DiMarco and Justin Leonard at Whistling Straits
  • 2000: Tiger Woods def. Bob May at Vahalla Golf Club

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