Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Francis Ouimet – they’ve all won the US Open in the most tense circumstances…
The US Open was first played in 1895 and is the second oldest golf major, behind The Open Championship first played in 1860.
It has been labelled in more recent years as golf’s toughest test, with thick rough, narrow firm fairways and fast greens.
It has been proven many times that the tournament isn’t over until it’s over, and this has produced many playoffs throughout the years.
We have picked out some of the most memorable US Open playoffs from years gone by:
US Open Playoff format
The playoff format for the US Open, from 2018, is a two-hole playoff and if it is still tied after the playoff, then sudden death holes will follow.
Up until 2017, however, the US Open was an 18-hole playoff on the Monday after the tournament, then if the playoff scores were tied then sudden-death holes would commence.
This has been the case three times, where sudden-death holes were needed after the 18-hole playoff, in 1990, 1994 and most famously in 2008.
Notable US Open play-offs
There have been 32 playoffs at the US Open, the first being way back in 1901 and the most recent being in 2008. Let’s have a look at some of the most notable ones on the list:
1911 – John McDermott
John Mcdermott was the first American to win the US Open and is still the youngest at 19 years of age to lift the trophy.
1913 – Francis Ouimet
In 1913, Francis Ouimet, 20 years old and an amateur, held off two of the greatest golfers of the era, Britons Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at Brookline Country Club.
Being an amateur, there was increased publicity for Ouimet’s win and this increased popularity so much so that the number of golf clubs in America tripled and many more of them were public courses allowing more people to play golf.
Ouimet’s win was immortalised in the 2002 film ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’.
1950 – Ben Hogan
The 1950 US Open at Merion Golf Club was named the ‘Miracle at Merion’ after Ben Hogan beat Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio to win his fourth major title just 16 months after suffering a near-fatal car crash.
Hogan hit one of the most famous shots in golf when he hit his 1-iron approach on the 72nd hole to 40 feet, he would two putt for par to make the playoff.
2008 – Tiger Woods
The 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines saw an epic 19-hole playoff between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate. Tiger holed his birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff on the Monday.
He and Mediate battled through the 18-hole play-off, where at one stage Woods held a three-shot lead, but three back-nine birdies from Mediate saw him take a one-shot lead into the final playoff hole.
Woods, like the day before, made birdie on the 18th to tie mediate and take the playoff into sudden death for the third time in US Open history. Tiger won with par at the first playoff hole to win his 14th Major.
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