Last Updated on:
Sudden death is used as a term in golf when a tournament or match enters into a playoff scenario in which the player who takes the lowest number of strokes is declared the winner, without having to play a predetermined number of holes after the official tournament rounds have ended.
In a sudden death, there is no safety nets as a loss on a hole means the loss of the tournament to the competitor.
A sudden death playoff may occur in golf when two players tie at the top of the leader board after four rounds of play. In order to decide the winner, the two or more players will then enter a playoff in which whoever scores the lowest score on a hole is declared the winner (depending on the stipulations of the tournament organiser).
There is no ‘best of’ scenario in a sudden death situation as it is straight out elimination, much like when a penalty shootout in football is tied after both sides are level after five penalties. Then, a sudden death next goal wins scenario is introduced.
A sudden death situation occurs between the players who are tied at the top of the leader board and can be any number greater than one.
Punters will then often be offered recalculated odds on who may win the tournament, but these will be greatly reduced from the players’ starting price at the beginning of the tournament.
However, some bookmakers will offer a method of victory bet which would have playoff as an option and, depending on the tournament, this could be a sudden death playoff or a number of holes aggregate option. A total stroke over set number of holes scenario is also possible.
The Masters from Augusta is the only one of the four major tournaments to use a sudden death playoff to determine the winner if there are a number of players tied for the lead after four rounds.
The US Open uses a two-hole aggregate playoff, the Open uses a four-hole total-stroke playoff and the USPGA a three-hole total-stroke playoff.
However, all use sudden death if all of the above scenarios are a tie at the end of play.