British Open Playoff Format & Rules at Carnoustie



Each major golf championship has different playoff rules. At the British Open, if two or more players are tied after regulation, a four-hole aggregate score playoff is played to decide the champion.

With a crowded leaderboard at the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie, a playoff seems like a distinct possibility.

Carnoustie Playoff Holes

The holes played differ depending on the course. At Carnoustie, the playoff features the final four holes — the most challenging stretch Carnoustie has to offer. Holes 15, 17, and 18 are difficult par 4s, while 16 is a lengthy par 3 that has yielded zero birdies on the final day and boasts a half-stroke over par scoring average.

If two or more players are still tied after four holes, the format switches to sudden death.

British Open Playoff History

The British Open has used the four-hole aggregate playoff system for the last nine playoffs dating back to 1989.

2015: Zach Johnson defeated Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman.
2009: Stewart Cink defeated Tom Watson.
2007: Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia.
2004: Todd Hamilton defeated Ernie Els.
2002: Ernie Els defeated Thomas Levet, Stuart Appleby, and Steve Elkington. Els and Levet were tied after four holes. They played a sudden death fifth hole, with Els coming out on top.
1999: Paul Lawrie defeated Justin Leonard and Jean Van de Velde.
1998: Mark O’Meara defeated Brian Watts.
1995: John Daly defeated Costantino Rocca.
1989: Mark Calcavecchia defeated Wayne Grady and Greg Norman.

Prior to the four-hole aggregate playoff system, the British Open had an 18-hole playoff. Tom Watson defeated Jack Newton by one stroke in the final 18-hole playoff in British Open history in 1975.

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