- U.S. Open
“When the first United States Open championship was held in 1895, it was a sort of extra added attraction to the main event, the first official United States Amateur championship.” Wrote Herbert Warren Wind in the foreword of The U.S. Open Golf’s Ultimate Challenge.
The first edition of the US Amateur was held on the first three days of October 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Newport, Rhode Island, with C. B. Macdonald winning the 32-man match play event by a record margin of 12 & 11 against his opponent in the final tie. The next day, eleven players competed in the inaugural US Open over the same 9-hole course and after four rounds of stroke play Horace Rawlins emerged the winner by a 2-shot margin over Willie Dunn.
The two national championships were held on the same course for the next two years, at Shinnecock Hills in 1896 and Chicago in 1897. A parting of the ways then occurred the following year, with the Amateur played at Morris County and the Open at Myopia Hunt over an extended format of 72 holes, which has never been altered since.
A player from the British Isles won every one of the initial sixteen tournaments; it took until 1912 for John J. McDermott to become the first US-born golfer (and youngest ever player) to claim the main prize. Having lost the previous year in a three-way playoff, he came out on top after another three-way playoff against fellow countrymen Mike Brady and George Simpson. Remarkably, McDermott retained his title the following year at the Country Club of Buffalo.
The champion golfer gets a gold medal – named the Jack Nicklaus Medal in 2012 – as a permanent keepsake and both winners and host clubs can each order one replica trophy from the USGA. The current trophy is 18 inches tall and weighs around 8.5 pounds, with the names of previous winners engraved around the base. It’s actually a replica of the original trophy which was destroyed in a fire. Lloyd Mangrum, the 1946 winner, took the previous trophy to his home club at Tam O'Shanter and it was lost when the clubhouse went up in flames, necessitating a replacement.
Five amateur players have won eight titles between them, with Bobby Jones claiming four of these between 1923 and 1930. Three other golfers – Willie Anderson (1901-1905), Ben Hogan (1948-1953) and Jack Nicklaus (1962-1980) – have also won the tournament four times. Eleven golfers have triumphed in both the US Amateur and US Open, including Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. Rory McIlroy holds the lowest aggregate score of 268 at Congressional (Blue) in 2011.
In terms of where the event has taken place, twenty-two clubs across six states in the North East have hosted almost exactly half the tournaments ever played (59 of 119 as of 2019). Six clubs in the South have been used for ten editions, six clubs in the West have hosted seventeen competitions and eighteen clubs across six Midwest states have held the Open on thirty-three occasions. Oakmont has been honoured to host the Open 9 times, followed by Baltusrol (7) then Oakland Hills and Pebble Beach (each with 6).
Five host courses no longer exist so you will not see them listed below. They are the original golfing layouts at Baltimore Country Club (1899), Baltusrol Golf Club (1903), Country Club of Buffalo (1912), Englewood Golf Club (1909) and Fresh Meadow Country Club (1932). Also unlisted is the course that staged the 1907 and 1910 U.S. Opens at Philadelphia Cricket Club because only nine holes now exist.
U.S. Open Top 100 Leaderboard
B-NL Challenge Trophy