PGA Championship playoff format: How the winner will be decided at Harding Park

Dustin Johnson bunker

Dustin Johnson blasts out of a bunker during the final round of the PGA Championship.

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The 2020 PGA Championship is coming down to the wire with a cluttered leaderboard, meaning the potential for a playoff to decide the year’s first major winner is becoming more of a reality.

The PGA Championship has its own unique playoff format. The Masters uses sudden death, the U.S. Open employs a two-hole aggregate playoff (previously an 18-hole playoff) and the Open Championship uses a four-hole aggregate playoff. But the PGA Championship is the only major with a three-hole aggregate playoff to decide its winner.

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If two or more players are tied for the lead after 72 holes at TPC Harding Park come Sunday night, those golfers will play the 16th, 17th and 18th holes, with the lowest three-hole total winning. If there’s still a tie, they’ll begin sudden death and play the 18th. If still tied after that, they’ll continue sudden death as needed on the 16th, 17th and 18th in a loop until one player wins.

The 16th is a 336-yard par-4, the 17th is a 171-yard par-3, and the 18th is a 480-yard par-4 the doglegs to the left. So far this week, the 16th has played as the second-easiest hole on the course (many players have hit the green from the tee box) and the 17th is the fifth-easiest. The 18th is playing as the eighth-most difficult hole.

The last time the PGA was decided by a playoff was in 2011, when Keegan Bradley beat Jason Dufner at the Atlanta Athletic Club. You can follow the final round of the 2020 PGA Championship here.

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Berhow is the managing editor at, the site’s primary homepage editor and the edit team’s on-site lead during major-tournament weeks. He plans the site’s daily coverage, marquee story placement and long-term content rollout for magazine pieces and special projects. He writes for both the website and magazine, edits and assigns stories. Berhow also contributes to podcasts and appears on camera for a variety of digital programming. The Minnesota native attended Minnesota State in Mankato.