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Players Championship changes playoff format

<p>The Players Championship has announced a change to its playoff format, switching from sudden death to a three-hole, aggregate score arrangement.</p>

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Players Championship has announced a change to its playoff format, switching from sudden death to a three-hole, aggregate score arrangement.

The plan will go into effect for this year's tournament at the TPC Sawgrass in May.

Not surprisingly, the playoff will take place on holes 16, 17 and 18.

The par-5 16th is the greatest risk-reward hole on the course and has the lowest stroke average to par, while the par-3 17th is the signature hole with the infamous island green and the par-4 18th is the considered the most difficult with the lake stretching the entire left side.

"Holes 16, 17 and 18 of The Players Stadium Course are perhaps the most dramatic closing holes in professional golf from a risk-reward standpoint, as they test all facets of a player's physical and mental game while under the pressure of trying to win such a significant championship," said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in a statement Wednesday. "Given the fact that winning The Players means you have defeated the strongest field in golf, we felt an aggregate playoff that incorporated these three holes was a more appropriate way to determine the champion."

Should a tie remain after the three-hole playoff, sudden death will start at the 17th hole. It will then go to 18 and revert back to a rotation of 16-17-18 until a winner is determined.

There have been four playoffs in the 40-year history of the Players Championship, the last coming in 2011 when K.J. Choi defeated David Toms with a par on the first extra hole -- the par-3 17th.

The Players Championship joins the PGA Championship in using a three-hole, aggregate playoff. The U.S. Open employs an 18-hole playoff and the British Open stages a four-hole, aggregate playoff, while the Masters and all other PGA Tour events utilize the sudden-death formula.

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