The dreaded Monday 18-hole play-off is no more. The US Open has finally scrapped the archaic format and any tie at the top at the conclusion of 72 holes will be settled by a two-hole play-off on the Sunday.
The USGA’s change, which will come into effect for this year’s major at Shinnecock Hills, was generally welcomed, although eyebrows have been raised by the association’s apparent determination still to remain different to the Masters, the Open and the USPGA, which employ a sudden death, three- and four-hole play-off respectively.
Mike Davis, the USGA executive director, explained: “Two holes will allow a player to recover from any single mistake, and at the same time, provide a memorable, and perhaps dramatic, experience for all involved.
“We know how important it is to everyone in the golf world to see play conclude on the Sunday of a major, and to award the trophy to the champion,”
It means that Tiger Woods’s victory over Rocco Mediate in 2008 will not be remembered just for the champion winning on one leg. That will go into the history books as the last Monday 18-hole play-off.
There was a time when the US Open was decided by a 36-hole play-off, but the USGA signalled its desire to enter the modern world when scrapping the 18-hole decider for the US Women’s Open in 2007.