Open Championship Reverting To A Three-Hole Play-Off If Tied At Royal Portrush

The R & A, and as organisers of golf’s oldest Major, have broken from a 40-year tradition to now adopt a three-hole play-off should one be required at this year’s 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

If needed, the play-off will be over par-4 1st hole, the par-3 13th and the par-4 18th.

If any players are still level after those three holes, the winner of the Claret Jug will be decided by a sudden death play-off.

Since 1989 when American Mark Calcavecchia defeated the Australian duo of Greg Norman and Wayne Grady at Royal Troon the play-off has been a four-hole aggregate total.

The 1989 Open at Royal Troon and the first time the R & A went to a four-hole play-off.

A four-hole play-off was needed in 2007 when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia and more recently, the four-hole play-off was required in 2015 to help American Zach Johnson see off Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen in the Monday-concluding Open at St. Andrews.

That play-off in 2015 was the ninth occasion a play-off had been required since 1989 but then had not been a play-off in golf’s oldest Major before then since 1975 and also 1970 that featured 18-hole play-offs.

In 1975, Tom Watson beat Australian Jack Newton at Carnousite and then in 1970, the great Jack Nicklaus saw off Doug Sanders, and both championship deciders by a single shot.

If that seems like a big deal for a play-off, it was only half as long as the previous 36-hole play-offs, which lasted from Willie Fernie won in 1883 until Bob Charles beat Phil Rodgers in 1963.

The very first Open Championship to end in a tie took place  in 1876, but Bob Martin was awarded the trophy when David Strath refused to play.



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