Monday, May 12, 2008

17 as a Playoff Hole?

As you may or may not know, I am a fan of the 3 and 4 hole playoffs in major championships. I think that they confer a sense of fairness on deciding a major as quickly as possible. (Often times, the USGA's lengthy playoff is over before it starts, so the thrill is kind of absent.) That's why I was surprised that the Players Championship decided to have a sudden death playoff...beginning on 17.

Obviously, starting on 17 leaves the very real possibility that the playoff could end right there. It is a very difficult hole for a variety of reasons that you know. As it turns out, the playoff did end on that first hole when the wind took Paul Goydos' aggressive pitching wedge and ballooned it to drop it about 5 yards shy of being great. Sergio hit a most impressive shot to win the event, though. Who knows if he would have made that five footer for birdie had Goydos hit land with his tee shot.

Still, I find it curious that they go with the sudden death playoff. The PGA Tour wants the Players to be a major so badly. Sudden death playoff is no longer in their collective vocabulary. Why not have them "run the Gauntlet" one more time on 16 through 18? Especially after Beman claimed (through Jimmy Roberts) that he finally named that stretch of holes correctly?

I can see benefits to both approaches, so weigh in: were you ok with a great finish ending so abruptly, or would you have wanted to give Goydos a chance to catch up to Garcia by playing the brutal 18th again?

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