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On June 18th, the 123rd U.S. Open will award the winner the Jack Nicklaus Medal and the U.S. Open trophy. The victorious golfer will either make a name for himself as Matt Fitzpatrick did last year with his first win or add to their list of accolades.
In this article, we’ll dive into past U.S. Open champions, records and historic moments through the years.
Most U.S. Open titles
- 1 Most U.S. Open titles
- 2 Two unforgettable moments from U.S. Open winners
- 3 U.S. Open tournament records
Willie Anderson, Robert T. Jones (amateur), Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus have won the most U.S. Open titles with four each.
4, Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905)
4, a-Robert T. Jones Jr. (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930)
4, Ben Hogan (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953)
4, Jack Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980)
3, Hale Irwin (1974, 1979, 1990)
3, Tiger Woods (2000, 2002, 2008)
Two unforgettable moments from U.S. Open winners
There have been many iconic moments since the tournament began in 1895. The following section will relive two of the best memories at the competition.
Arnold Palmer erases a seven-stroke deficit in 1960
Arnold Palmer’s 1960 U.S. Open triumph is regarded as one of the most spectacular and memorable performances in golf history. The tournament was hosted by Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado.
“Arnie” found himself seven shots behind the leader, Mike Souchak, and six strokes behind the second-place competitor, Ben Hogan, heading into the final round.
Palmer, then 29 years old, performed excellently on the front nine, closing the distance between himself and the leaders. He birdied six of the first seven holes and recorded a 30. By the time he reached the 17th hole, he was tied for the lead with Hogan.
The seven-time major winner made a spectacular drive on the 17th and reached the par-5 green in two. He subsequently two-putted for a birdie, giving him a one-stroke lead. Meanwhile, Hogan, who was in the same group, parred the hole.
Palmer landed his drive on 18 in the rough. Despite being in the thick stuff, he hit a daring approach shot that landed just short of the green. He chipped it close to the hole and tapped in for a par, giving him a final-round score of 65.
Hogan, who needed an eagle to force a playoff, just missed his chip and finished one stroke behind Palmer. The win was the legend’s first major triumph and his stunning performance cemented his place as one of the sport’s brightest stars.
Tiger Woods hobbles to victory at Torrey Pines
Woods had one of the most inspirational performances in major championship history at the U.S. Open in 2008 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California.
The hall of famer faced a big obstacle in the run-up to the event: he had undergone knee surgery just two months prior and had not competed since. Many questioned his ability to even compete, let alone win the tournament.
Despite his injuries, Woods took to the course with passion and a strong desire to prove himself. His knee was clearly bothering him during the competition, and he frequently winced in agony after shots.
As the event neared its conclusion, Woods was tied with Rocco Mediate at 1-under par and made a 12-footer for birdie on 18 to force an 18-hole Monday playoff.
The playoff came down to the last hole, with Woods leading Mediate by one stroke. Mediate narrowly missed his birdie, opening the door for Woods. The big cat rolled his putt in for par, and the audience roared in joy as he sealed his triumph and won a third U.S. Open title.
OTD in 2008: Tiger Woods wins the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, playing with a broken leg and a fully torn ACL.
One of the most incredible performances in sports history.pic.twitter.com/LwcQMgy8qZ
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) June 16, 2021
U.S. Open tournament records
The following statistics were gathered from the United States Golf Association’s website.
- Willie Anderson- 1903, 1904, 1905
Consecutive winning attempts
- Ben Hogan- 1948, 1950, 1951
Lowest winning scores
- 268 — Rory McIlroy, 2011, (65-66-68-69), Congressional Country Club (Blue Course), Bethesda, Md.
- 271 — Martin Kaymer, 2014 (65-65-72-69), Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (No. 2 Course), Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
- 271 — Gary Woodland, 2019 (68-65-69-69), Pebble Beach (California) Golf Links
- 272 — Jack Nicklaus, 1980, (63-71-70-68), Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower Course), Springfield, N.J.
- 272 — Lee Janzen, 1993, (67-67-69-69), Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower Course), Springfield, N.J.
- 272 — Tiger Woods, 2000, (65-69-71-67), Pebble Beach (California) Golf Links
- 272 — Jim Furyk, 2003, (67-66-67-72), Olympia Fields (Illinois) Country Club (North Course)
- 272 — Brooks Koepka, 2017 (67-70-68-67), Erin Hills, Erin, Wisconsin
- John McDermott- 1911 (19 years and 305 days)
- Hale Irwin- 1990 (45 years 15 days)
Largest margin of victory
- Tiger Woods- 1997 (15 shots, the most ever in any major)
- Johnny Miller, (63), 1973, final round, Oakmont Country Club (par 71) in Oakmont, Pennsylvania
- Jack Nicklaus, (63), 1980, first round, Baltusrol (Lower Course, par 70) in Springfield, New Jersey
- Tom Weiskopf, (63) 1980, first round, Baltusrol (Lower Course, par 70) in Springfield, New Jersey
- Vijay Singh, (63), 2003, second round, Olympia Fields Country Club (North Course, par 70) in Olympia Fields, Illinois
- Justin Thomas, (63), 2017, third round, Erin Hills (par 72) in Erin, Wisconsin
- Tommy Fleetwood, (63), 2018, fourth round, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70) in Southampton, New York
Lowest round in relation to par
- Justin Thomas (-9), 2017, third round, Erin Hills
Longest Span, First to Last Victory
- 18 years, Jack Nicklaus (1962-80)
Most U.S. Open appearances
- 44, Jack Nicklaus (1957-2000)
- 34, Hale Irwin (1966-2003)
- 33, Tom Kite (1970-2004)
- 33, Gene Sarazen (1920-1958)
- 32, Arnold Palmer (1953-1994)
- 31, Raymond Floyd (1964-2004)
- 31, Phil Mickelson (1990-2022)
- 31, Sam Snead (1937-1977)
- 31, Tom Watson (1972-2010)
- 29, Gary Player (1958-1989)
- 27, Ernie Els (1993-2019)
- 27, Jay Haas (1974-2006)
- 26, Julius Boros (1950-1977)
- 26, Jim Furyk (1994-2022)
- 26, Ben Crenshaw (1970-1999)
- 25, Gene Littler (1954-1982)
- 24, Tommy Armour (1920-1950)
- 24, Bobby Cruickshank (1921-1957)
- 24, Johnny Farrell (1920-1954)
- 24, Fred McLeod (1903-1946)
- 24, Corey Pavin (1981-2006)
Most runner-up finishes
- 6, Phil Mickelson (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2013)
- 4, (Amateur) Robert T. Jones Jr. (1922, 1924, 1925, 1928)
- 4, Sam Snead (1937, 1947, 1949, 1953)
- 4, Jack Nicklaus (1960, 1968, 1971, 1982)
- 4, Arnold Palmer (1962, 1963, 1966, 1967)
- 3, Alex Smith (1898, 1901, 1905)
- 3, Tom McNamara (1909, 1912, 1915)
- 3, Colin Montgomerie (1994, 1997, 2006)
- 3, Jim Furyk (2006, 2007, 2016)
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