British Open Playoff: How the Four-Hole Aggregate Playoff Works

Sunday July 17th, 2016
Will Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson need extra holes to see who brings home the claret jug?
Jan Kruger/R&A

The British Open is unique among the four majors because it's the only one that uses a four-hole aggregate playoff to decide its winner if two or more players are tied after 72 holes.

The Masters uses a sudden-death playoff, the PGA Championship has a three-hole aggregate playoff and the U.S. Open has an 18-hole playoff followed by sudden death. The British Open first used the four-hole aggregate system — which is the lowest total score of four extra holes — in 1989, when Mark Calcavecchia beat Wayne Grady and Greg Norman.

It's been used nine times in the Open's history, most recently last year at St. Andrews, when Zach Johnson (15) out-lasted Louie Oosthuizen (16) and Marc Leishman (18).

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