Largest Sudden-Death Playoffs in PGA Tour History

PGA Tour Records: Playoffs With Most Players

Robert Allenby holds the trophy at Riviera C.C. after the final round of the 2001 Nissan Open
Robert Allenby protects himself and his trophy from the rain after winning a 6-man playoff for the 2001 Nissan Open title. Harry How/Getty Images

What is the largest number of golfers ever to take part in a sudden-death playoff at a PGA Tour tournament? That record is six, and it's happened twice:

6 Golfers in One Playoff

  • 1994 GTE Byron Nelson Classic: Neal Lancaster, Tom Byrum, Mark Carnevale, David Edwards, Yoshinori Mizumaki and David Ogrin. Winner: Neal Lancaster
  • 2001 Nissan Open: Robert Allenby, Toshi Izawa, Brandel Chamblee, Bob Tway, Jeff Sluman and Dennis Paulson. Winner: Robert Allenby

Lancaster's Byron Nelson Classic Victory

The first 6-man playoff ever on the PGA Tour happened in 1994 at the Byron Nelson Classic. But this playoff didn't happen because six golfers were tied at the end of 72 holes. It happened because stormy weather prevented the tournament from completing more than two rounds. So six golfers were tied after 36 holes, and that precipitated the playoff. (This was the first PGA Tour event since 1985 that only went 36 holes.)

And although six golfers were in it, it ended very quickly: The playoff lasted only one hole. Lancaster won it with a 4-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole.

Lancaster had been on tour for five seasons and had never finished higher than fifth place. This was his first win ... and it remained his only win.

Allenby's Nissan Open Victory

The second 6-man playoff in PGA Tour history happened at the 2001 Nissan Open at Riviera Country Club, the tournament traditionally known as the Los Angeles Open and today named the Northern Trust Open.

And just like Lancaster's win in the first 6-man playoff, Allenby ended this one on the very first hole. Allenby hit a 3-wood to within five feet of the cup on the first extra hole, then sank the birdie to claim the win. At the time it was Allenby's third PGA Tour victory and all three of them were via playoffs.

The 6-man playoff happened because several players who had a chance to win outright - including Allenby - stumbled down the stretch. Davis Love III led by one with four holes to play, but played those four remaining holes in 4-over and missed the playoff. Allenby and Jeff Sluman both bogeyed the 18th hole in regulation, falling back into the 6-way tie.

This tournament ended in cold, wet weather, and only one other golfer in the playoff - Bob Tway — managed to reach the par-4, 18th hole in two. Tway was 35-feet away from the cup and came up just short.