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What happens if there is a tie in the US Open? Is there a playoff?

The top of the leaderboard at the 2022 US Open at Brookline, Massachusetts, going into the final round was tight, as thoughts of a tie grew stronger.

BROOKLINE, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is seen on the first green during the final round of the 122nd U.S. Open Championship at The Country Club on June 19, 2022 in Brookline, Massachusetts.   Warren Little/Getty Images/AFP
Warren LittleAFP

Coming into the US Open this year there was muddied headlines about the impact of the controversial LIV International tournament. Then the action got underway on Thursday and we’ve not looked back.

As Day 3 came to a close, the top of the leaderboard was stacked, as Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick shared top spot at -4 while a number of other stars lined up behind them, ready to pounce in Sunday’s conclusion, including world number one Scottie Scheffler. And that tightly bunched pack increased belief that we may see the four days of golf end with more than one player on the same best score. So what would happen?

US Open: what happens if there is a leadership tie?

So, if we have two of more players sharing the top score after 72 holes, we will head into a playoff for the prestigious title. And at the US Open the rules are clear and simple.

Rather than the previously used full 18-hole playoff, the USGA now has a two-hole aggregate playoff. The golfers in question would play the 1st and the 18th after Sunday’s play comes to an end and the lowest score over those two holes wins the championship. If there is still a tie, all remaining players will return to the 1st and 18th holes in a sudden-death rotation until a winner is finally revealed.

US Open: previous playoffs

If we do get a playoff in the 2022 edition it will bring to an end the longest period in US Open history of it not being decided with the extra play. The last time we needed a playoff was in 2008, when Rocco Mediate lost to Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California.

Interestingly, the Country Club in Brookline has some form when it comes to playoffs determining the winner, in the three previous US Opens held there the longer method being used. In 1913 Francis Ouimet, an amateur, prevailed over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray over 36 additional holes, while in 1963 Julius Boros took 18 to overcome Jacky Cupit and Arnold Palmer. Then, English star Nick Faldo lost out in 1988 to Curtis Strange, again over the extra 18.


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