The Longest Playoffs in Pro Golf History
YOU walk off the final green after 72 holes, look at the leaderboard and there you are sitting on top. And then somebody produces a stunning finish and equals your score.
So you have to get yourself ready for a sudden death playoff, knowing that one mistake, one poor shot, could undo all your good work.
Playoffs can be over in a flash. One hole, sometimes two. But occasionally they turn into a marathon.
Eurgene Chacarra, of Spain, won the recent International Series event at Fairmont St Andrews, beating Matt Jones of Australia in a playoff that lasted 10 holes. It was the longest playoff in Asian Tour history and it finished in fading light.
However, it was not the longest playoff that men's professional golf has seen. We have trawled the record books and come up with several other marathons that could not be decided after 72 holes. And there are plenty of them.
For other examples, we recommend that you check out The Longest Playoffs in Golf History.
Pepsi-Wilson Tournament, Japan Tour, 1976, 14 Holes
There may have been a longer playoff but we cannot find it if there is. Five-time Open champion Peter Thomson finished level with Graham Marsh, Brian Jones and Shozo Miyamoto after regulation play. Thomson eventually lifted the trophy but was probably on his knees by the time he hoisted it aloft as it took him 14 holes to do!
Motor City Open, PGA Tour, 1949, 11 Holes
During the Motor City Open in 1949, Lloyd Mangrum and Cary Middlecoff eventually agreed to share the title. They had played an additional 11 holes when darkness fell. So, rather than returning the following day, they shook hands and were declared joint winners. There will be many golf fans who wonder why this does not happen more often.
Dutch Open, European Tour, 1989, 9 Holes
This one wasn’t pretty. Jose Maria Olazabal, Ronan Rafferty and perennial runner-up Roger Chapman were tied after 72 holes. Chapman was eliminated at the first extra hole and Olazabal eventually won with a double-bogey at the ninth additional hole after Rafferty found all sorts of trouble.
Spanish Open, European Tour, 2013, 9 Holes
French golfer Raphael Jacquelin secured his fourth career European Tour title by triumphing over Maximilian Kiefer on the ninth playoff hole. Felipe Aguilar was eliminated at the third extra hole.
Mayakoba Golf Classic, PGA Tour, 2012, 8 Holes
Playing in just his fifth PGA Tour event, 21-year-old John Huh defeated Robert Allenby at the eighth extra hole. It turned out that eight pars were good enough to beat the Australian.
Phoenix Open, PGA Tour, 1983, 8 Holes
This was another twilight job and it involved Bob Gilder, Johnny Miller, Mark O’Meara and Rex Caldwell, with Gilder emerging triumphant after another eight-hole epic. Sadly, this was in the days before this tournament attracted massive galleries.
Quad Cities Open, PGA Tour, 1981, 8 Holes
And guess what? This time it was American Dave Barr who lifted the trophy after another 8-hole playoff, beating Woody Blackburn, Frank Conner, Dan Halldorson and Victor Regalado.
Greater Milwaukee Open, PGA Tour, 1978, 8 Holes
Lee Trevino forced a playoff with Lee Elder after holing an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole. On the eighth playoff hole, Trevino blasted out of the sand to within six feet. He missed the par putt and Elder two-putted from 12 feet for the win.
Azalea Open Invitational, PGA Tour, 1965, 8 Holes
Dick Hart almost didn’t play. He entered with just two minutes to go before the deadlines passed. And he walked away with his first PGA Tour victory. But he did it the hard way. During the playoff, both Hart and Phil Rodgers found themselves off the green on the eighth hole. It was Hart, aged 28, who ultimately emerged victorious by skillfully recovering with an up-and-down play. Hart only made the playoff thanks to an eagle at the par-four 15th, where he holed a wedge shot, and a 12-foot putt for birdie at the 18th.
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