June 12, 2018 / 8:05 PM / 6 months ago

Spieth was unaware of revamped U.S. Open playoff format

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (Reuters) - If world number four Jordan Spieth finds his way into a playoff at this week’s U.S. Open, he was planning to return to Shinnecock Hills on Monday ready for battle — except there would have been nobody there.

Jun 12, 2018; Southampton, NY, USA; Jordan Spieth follows through on a shot from the 1st tee during Tuesday's practice round of the 118th U.S. Open golf tournament at Shinnecock Hills. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Spieth revealed on Tuesday that he had no idea the United States Golf Association announced in February that the U.S. Open’s Monday playoff had been abandoned in favor of a format that will most likely guarantee a Sunday finish.

“It’s the first I’ve heard of that being an option,” Spieth told a news conference at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, where the year’s second major will begin on Thursday.

Of course, the new format is not an option but a rule.

Previously, when two or more players were tied after 72 holes at a U.S. Open, they returned the next day to settle the score over an 18-hole playoff.

But after calls to move the tournament more in line with golf’s other three majors, the USGA decided on a two-hole aggregate playoff that will most likely guarantee a Sunday finish.

If players are tied after the two-hole playoff, the extra-holes session will switch to sudden death.

Once Spieth, a three-times major champion who won the U.S. Open in 2015, was brought up to speed during his news conference he then offered his thoughts on the change.

“I guess strategy changes a little from an entire round, but I honestly had no idea that it even changed,” said Spieth, who will play the first two rounds this week with Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy.

“I was even looking at a weather forecast for Monday, thinking, you know, what’s it look like if you happen to work your way into a playoff? So shows you what I know.”

Reporting by Andrew Both; Writing by Frank Pingue; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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