Did you know: There's an actual rule on when PGA Tour playoffs can go to Tuesday (and one event can go to Wednesday!)
The Coronavirus pandemic has hit a giant pause button on fans being able to watch golf on TV, and in some cases, even kept people off courses. But while we hunker down and hope for a speedy return to normalcy, we can also use this time as an opportunity to learn more about the game we love. Here’s our latest installment of “Did you know?”
Now that the PGA Tour has formally announced when play will resume, golf fans can look forward to settling in front of their televisions on Sunday afternoons to watch the final round. Of course, sometimes weather and/or darkness can stretch that into Monday. While not routine, Monday conclusions are hardly an anomaly on the PGA Tour, having occurred 18 times since 2011. Finishing on Tuesday, however, is almost unheard of.
To be sure, there are explanations for that—namely that the weather would have to be pretty dang bad for an event not to finish 72 holes over five days. But there’s another reason as well. Apparently, the tour has rules that make playing on Tuesday highly unlikely.
In the unlikely occurrence that weather or conditions are so bad that an event can’t finish on a Monday, according to tour rules, the only way an event can be pushed to Tuesday is if at least half the players who made the cut finished all 72 Monday. If less than half of the players finish 72 holes by the end of Monday play, all fourth-round scores are wiped out and the leader after 54 holes is declared the winner (if there is a tie after 54 holes, those tied for the lead will engage in a playoff to determine the winner).
Interestingly, a couple of instances where a tournament finished on Tuesday occurred in locales you might not have guessed: Arizona and Hawaii. The 1980 Joe Garagiola Tucson Open endured considerable rain, leading to a Tuesday finish with Jim Colbert winning by four strokes over Dan Halldorson and the last time the tour saw a Tuesday finish was at the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where it was worth the wait for Dustin Johnson as he also won by four strokes, with Steve Stricker runner-up.
And what about a Wednesday finish? Not allowed for almost all tour events with one notable exception. The tour commissioner, if they so choose,
The only exception to this rule is The Players Championship, which is the PGA Tour's crown jewel. The PGA Tour commissioner has the discretion to drag out the Players as long as needed to complete 72 holes.