5 best playoffs in PGA Championship history

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 7, 2014 at 2:03 am •  Published: August 7, 2014
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — If history is any indication, the PGA Championship won't be decided on the 72nd hole Sunday.

Not at Valhalla.

Mark Brooks won the 1996 PGA Championship in a sudden-death playoff over Kenny Perry. Far more memorable was Tiger Woods becoming the first player since Ben Hogan to win three straight majors in a year, but only after a three-hole playoff to beat journeyman Bob May at Valhalla in 2000.

The PGA Championship has a history of playoffs. It was the first major to adopt the sudden-death format in 1977. It's the last major that had three successive years of being decided in a playoff. And remember, it was the last major that required a playoff. The PGA Championship was match play until 1958, so while there were championship matches that went extra holes, the term "playoff" really only applies to two players who emerge from a larger field and are tied after regulation.

Here's a look at the five best playoffs in the PGA Championship:

5. ELKINGTON AND MONTY

Ernie Els had control of the 1995 PGA Championship at Riviera until conservative play took him out of the picture. Steve Elkington, with a brilliant weekend, closed with a 64 and looked to be the sure winner until Colin Montgomerie put on a memorable charge.

Monty birdied the last three holes in regulation to close with a 65 and join Elkington at 267, at the time a PGA Championship record.

Only one of them got the trophy. Elkington made a 25-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole in sudden death to capture his only major championship.

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4. MAHAFFEY'S COMEBACK

John Mahaffey still holds the PGA Championship record for the largest comeback by a winner. He rallied from seven shots behind on the last day at Oakmont in 1978.

But he had to go overtime.

Tom Watson, who never won a PGA in his quest for the career Grand Slam, never had a better chance than this one. But he closed with a 73 and went to a sudden-death playoff with Mahaffey, who shot a 66, and Jerry Pate, who closed with a 68.

All three made par on the first extra hole, and Mahaffey won with a birdie on the second playoff hole for his only major.

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3. OLD MAN BARBER

The first playoff in PGA Championship history after changing to stroke play was one of the most remarkable finishes. Jerry Barber came through in the clutch in regulation and in the 18-hole playoff in 1961 at Olympia Fields.

Don January had a four-shot lead with three holes remaining until Barber made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th and a 40-foot par putt on the 17th hole. Two shots behind playing the last, January made bogey, and Barber rolled in a 60-foot birdie to close with a 70 and forced an 18-hole playoff.

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