A Look Back At Key Anniversaries In The U.S. Open

Rory McIlroy

By DOUG FERGUSON, Associated Press

A look at some of the anniversaries this year at the U.S. Open:

125 Years Ago (1896)

James Foulis won the second U.S. Open, closing with a 74 in the second and final round at Shinnecock Hills to break out of a six-way tie for the lead. There were 35 players in the field, and only 28 finished the 36-hole championship on a course that measured 4,423 yards. Foulis finished at 152 and won by three shots over defending champion Horace Rawlins. First place was $150. Most notable about this U.S. Open was several players signing a petition that they would not play if John Shippen, an African-American, and Oscar Bunn, a Native American, were allowed to play. The USGA stood its ground and the protest relented. Shippen, a caddie a Shinnecock Hills was tied for the 18-hole lead but took an 11 on the 13th hole. He tied for sixth. Shinnecock Hills would wait 90 years before hosting another U.S. Open.

100 Years Ago (1921)

Having won the first two editions of the PGA Championship, Jim Barnes added a third major with his only U.S. Open title at Columbia Country Club in the suburbs northwest of Washington, D.C. Barnes opened with a 69 to build a three-shot lead, and he extended the margin in every subsequent round. President Warren G. Harding attended the final round on Friday afternoon when Barnes took a seven-shot lead and closed with a 72 to win by nine shots over Walter Hagan and Fred McLeod. The low amateur was Chick Evans, who won the 1916 U.S. Open. He finished one shot ahead of 19-year-old amateur Bobby Jones. It was the only U.S. Open held at Columbia.

75 Years Ago (1946)

The U.S. Open resumed after a four-year break from World War II, and the winner was fitting. Lloyd Mangrum, who earned Purple Hearts from being wounded at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, beat Byron Nelson and Vic Ghezzi in a playoff at Canterbury Golf Club outside Cleveland. Nelson had a one-shot lead going into the final round and closed with a 73, while Mangrum and Ghezzi each shot 72 to match him at 4-under 284. In the 18-hole playoff, all three players shot 72, leading to another 18-hole playoff that afternoon. The key for Mangrum was a tee shot that went out-of-bounds on No. 9, but a 70-foot putt to escape with bogey. He finished strong to shoot 72, winning by one shot. Mangrum earned $1,500, while all three in the playoff received a $333 bonus. It was the only major Mangrum won, though he had 36 wins on the PGA TOUR and was elected to the World Hall of Fame.

50 Years Ago (1971)

Lee Trevino won his second U.S. Open at the expense of a familiar friend and foe, Jack Nicklaus, in an 18-hole playoff at Merion. The story going into the final round was Jim Simon, a senior at Wake Forest trying to become the first amateur to win the U.S. Open since 1933. Simon took a two-shot lead over Nicklaus into the final round and hung in there until the end. Needing a birdie to join the playoff, he took double bogey and tied for fifth. Trevino missed an 8-foot par putt on the 18th hole for a 69, leading to the playoff. The next day, Trevino bogeyed the first hole to ball behind. He played bogey-free the rest of the way for a 68 and a three-shot victory. It was the second of four times that Nicklaus finished runner-up to Trevino in a major.

25 Years Ago (1996)

Steve Jones thought his career might be over when he was badly injured in a dirt bike accident five years earlier. He had to go through sectional qualifying to get into Oakland Hills, overcame a 74 in the opening round and worked his way into the final group Sunday, one shot behind Tom Lehman. Ahead of them, Davis Love III had a 20-foot birdie putt that would have tied for the lead. He left it 3 feet short, and then missed the par putt to shoot 69. Jones bogeyed the 17th, dropping him into a tie for the lead with Lehman. On the closing hole, Lehman’s drive took a wicked hop to the left and into a bunker, and he couldn’t reach the green. Jones hit 7-iron to 15 feet and two-putt for par and a 69 to win by one shot for his only major championship. For Lehman, it was the second of four straight years playing in the final group of a U.S. Open. He never won it.

20 Years Ago (2001)

Retief Goosen had to work harder than he should have to capture the first of his two U.S. Open titles. He appeared to have it in the bag when he had a one-shot lead playing the final hole at Southern Hills, his approach to the 18th just 12 feet away. But he ran it 2 feet by, and then shockingly missed the next one for a 71. That led to an 18-hole play against Marks Brooks, who earlier three-putted from 40 feet to seemingly blow his chance. Another heartache belonged to Stewart Cink. He was tied with Goosen in regulation when he went long of he 18th green and missed his 15-foot par putt. Stepping in to clear the stage for Goosen, Cink missed an 18-inch putt. That ultimately kept him out of the playoff. There was little drama in the playoff. Goosen was rock solid and shot 70 to win by two. Tiger Woods tied for 12th, ending his hold on all four majors. He was asked if it was the most disappointed he had been in some time in the majors. “Considering I won the last four, yes,” Woods replied.

10 Years Ago (2011)

Two months after Rory McIlroy lost a four-shot lead in the Masters, he set the U.S. Open record with a 16-under 268 at Congressional to win by eight shots. McIlroy opened with a bogey-free 65 for a three-shot lead, the largest in 35 years at a U.S. Open. Even with a double bogey on his final hole of the second round, he shot 66 to set the 36-hole record and lead by six. The coronation was on. He shot 68 to set the 54-hole record at 199. And then he closed with a 69. Jason Day was the runner-up at 276, a score that would have won 26 of the previous 30 times in the U.S. Open. The scoring was low in part to the soft conditions for the week. Robert Garrigus became only the sixth player to post all four rounds under par and that only got him a tie for third. When it was over, McIlroy set 11 U.S. Open records on the weekend.