Other than providing a strong lead-in to CBS's Sunday night magazine show, I cannot comprehend any rational reason for continuing to decide Masters playoffs in sudden death.
Sunday's frenzied playoff was the latest example of the awkward, anti-climactic feel that has tainted past sudden deathers.
Just think: all of that work and all of that great play, yet the coveted first major often comes down to a missed putt or bounce when a three or four hole playoff could eliminate such concerns (as evidenced by widespread praise for the Open and PGA's aggregate playoff formats).
As a wise observer pointed out to me today, never has a Masters sudden death playoff gone more than two holes. In recent years, those holes have been played with the sun about to set. The observer couldn't help but wonder if the pressure of not finishing in the daylight adds to the chaotic nature of things.
Now, with the improved course setup this year, pace of play was significantly faster. Simply moving tee times up 30-40 minutes would open up enough of a window for three holes to be played while still providing that strong lead-in to 60 Minutes (Except on the West Coast).
So is it something about the late light looking a certain way that encourages the club to stick with the current "tradition," even though it would seem like an odd way to culminate a major championship?
Or is 60 Minutes and the lure of a big prime time rating just that important?
Or is it something else? Help!