What's the longest sudden-death playoff in PGA Tour history?

By T.J. Auclair
Published on
What's the longest sudden-death playoff in PGA Tour history?

Patton Kizzire and James Hahn staged an incredible back and forth battle at the 2018 Sony Open, which required six holes of a sudden-death playoff before Kizzire emerged as the champion at Waialae Country Club.

While that playoff was no doubt lengthy, where does it rank in terms of the longest in PGA Tour history?

For the sake of this conversation, the U.S. Open was not taken into consideration because it's not classified as "sudden death" until an entire 18-hole playoff has been completed. For instance, Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines in a playoff at Torrey Pines. It took 19 holes -- the 18 for the U.S. Open playoff and then one additional, sudden-death hole.

Here's a look at the longest playoffs in PGA Tour history.

11 holes

The 1949 Motor City Open: Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum -- both major champions and World Golf Hall of Famers -- finished regulation of the 1949 Motor City Open in Detroit knotted at 11-under 273.

That's right... the pair matched scores for 11 consecutive holes. Then, darkness set in and the playoff could no longer continue. At that point, the players and tournament officials decided to end the playoff and name Middlecoff and Mangrum "co-champions."

Interestingly, Mangrum would win the tournament the following year, while Middlecoff would win in 1952 and 1954 -- the next two times the tournament was contested.

8 holes

There have been a total of five, eight-hole, sudden-death playoffs in PGA Tour history. The most recent came in 2012 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. That's where John Huh was finally able to outlast Robert Allenby. It was just the fifth start of Huh's PGA Tour career, a season in which he would be the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year. It also remains Huh's lone PGA Tour win to date.

Allenby was very much in control of the tournament in regulation and took a two-stroke lead to the 18th tee. However, his tee shot found tree trouble and he wound up making a crushing double bogey.

Huh, who began the final round seven strokes behind Allenby, won the tournament with a par on the eighth hole of sudden death.

  • 1965 Azalea Open: Dick Hart def. Phil Rodgers
  • 1978 Greater Milwaukee Open: Lee Elder def. Lee Trevino
  • 1981 Quad Cities Open: Dave Barr def. Woody Blackburn, Dan Halldorson, Frank Conner, Victor Regalado
  • 1983 Phoenix Open: Bob Gilder def. Rex Caldwell, Johnny Miller, Mark O'Meara
  • 2012 Mayakoba Golf Classic: John Huh def. Robert Allenby