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US Open history

The history of the US Open

It is one of the longest-running events in golf, but what is the history of the US Open?

 

The US Open dates all the way back to 1895, but what is the history of the second-longest running men’s golf tournament?

Plenty has happened over the 130-year history of the event, which is second only to the Open Championship in terms of its age.

Unlike the PGA Championship, which had it’s match-play phase to begin with, the US Open has always been a stroke-play competition.

The history of the tournament begins shortly before the turn of the 20th Century. The first three tournaments were played over 36 holes, with the event being played in one day. England’s Harold Rawlins was the first man to win the US Open.

1898 saw the first 72-hole competition, but incredibly, it would be 1911 before a player from the United States won the national championship.

us open

The first 13 editions of the tournament were all won by British golfers, with a mixture of English and Scottish, as well as Jersey’s Harry Vardon taking the title. Scotland’s Willie Anderson won the event four times in five years, including winning three on the bounce from 1903 to 1905. He remains the only golfer to have ever achieved this at the US Open.

John McDermott was the first American to lift the trophy. He did so in 1911, and he remains the youngest player to ever win the US Open. He is the only teenager to ever win the title, with Francis Ouimet and Gene Sarazen both being 20 when they lifted the trophy.

Ouimet is also one of five amateurs to have claimed victory in this fabled tournament. Jerome Travers, Chick Evans and John Goodman also won the event, while Bobby Jones would win four US Opens.

He won all four as an amateur, and is one of four men to have won the US Open on four occasions. Willie Anderson is another, along with Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.

Following McDermott’s win at the 1911 edition, only seven of the next 75 winners were non-Americans. They included South Africa’s Gary Player, England’s Jim Barnes and Tony Jacklin, and Jersey’s Ted Ray.

Things have changed slightly for the rest of the world over recent years. The likes of Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer have all been victorious in the last three decades.

As with pretty much all golf tournaments in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the US Open. The event was postponed three months, and was eventually played in September. It was the first time that the tournament had been held in September for more than 100 years. Bryson DeChambeau was the victor that year, as the only man under par at Winged Foot.

No tournament history piece on the US Open would be without mentioning the great Tiger Woods. The 15-time major champion is a three-time winner of the US Open.

Woods is the only man to have claimed a wire-to-wire victory at the US Open on multiple occasions, and the only mane to have won the triple – US Junior Amateur, US Amateur and US Open. Not only that, but he has won each of those on three occasions.

The American also holds the record for the largest winning margin. He blew the field away at the 2000 edition. Woods was the only player to finish under par, reaching 12-under. He won by an incredible 15 shots, a record that might never be beaten.

The last five winners of the US Open have all been first time major champions. Spain’s Jon Rahm – the 2021 victor – is the only player to have gone on to win another, taking the victory at the 2023 Masters. Gary Woodland (2019), Bryson DeChambeau (2020) and Matt Fitzpatrick (2022) remain on the one major championship.

Wyndham Clark was the most recent victor at the US Open, taking the title at the Los Angeles Country Club in 2023. The event returns to Pinehurst No.2 for the 2024 edition.

us open golf field

After that, the likes of Oakmont, Shinnecock Hills, Pebble Beach and Winged Foot will play host again. No new venues are on the slate at the moment, with Riviera and Los Angeles CC – both having hosted once – scheduled to host again in the 2030s.

Oakmont already holds the record for hosting the most editions of the US Opens. The 2025 edition of the tournament will be the 10th time that the Pennsylvania course has played host. The venue is also scheduled to play host to the US Open in 2033, 2042 and 2049.

  • NOW READ: Future, present and past venues of the US Open

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Matt Coles

Matt Coles

Mention a European country, and Matt will tell you which resorts make the National Club Golfer Top 100s: European Resorts list. He might even throw in who designed the golf course and how many rooms the hotel has got at each one…

Matt got into the game of golf from a young age, following his old man to the local golf club. He fell for the sport, and now can’t seem to go a day without thinking about how to improve his game (Thanks Dad!). Matt has been a member of Howley Hall GC in Leeds since 2020, and is just about managing to maintain a single-figure handicap. He likes to remind people that he once broke 75, but won’t tell people that it was on a shortened course during the winter.

He moved to Leeds after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism. Matt joined NCG after almost five years travelling the world with the Professional Squash Association, working on events in all four corners of the globe.

Matt currently plays a Cobra King LTDx driver and RadSpeed 3-wood. TaylorMade monopolise the rest of his bag, with a SIM UDI, M5 irons and both Milled Grind and HI-TOE wedges, along with a Monza Redline putter. He uses a Vice Pro Plus golf ball, because he’s a bit different…

Away from golf, Matt is a Manchester United fan, and a keen runner, having ran the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon (his first and possibly last), in May 2023.

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