2017 U.S. Open is the latest entry in Wisconsin major golf history

By Gary D'Amato
Published on
2017 U.S. Open is the latest entry in Wisconsin major golf history

After a long spell without any major golf championships, America's Dairyland is in the midst of an incredible run. Here's a look at men's and women's major championships and notable tournaments that have been played in Wisconsin.

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Blue Mound Golf & Country Club - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Gene Sarazen won his third and final PGA and the sixth of his seven major titles by defeating Willie Goggin, 5 and 4, in the 36-hole match play final. Sarazen earned the princely sum of $1,000 for the victory. Defending champion Olin Dutra lost in the second round to semifinalist Johnny Farrell, 1 up. It was Wisconsin's first and only men's major championship for 71 years. In 1935, Sarazen would put the fledgling Masters Tournament on the map with the "shot heard 'round the world" -- a double-eagle on the par-5 15th hole at Augusta National.


Blackwolf Run - Kohler, Wisconsin

Record galleries created traffic jams outside tiny Kohler, reflecting Wisconsin's pent-up demand for championship golf, when the world's best female golfers tackled a hybrid course at Blackwolf Run. The combination of holes from the River and Meadow Valleys courses constituted one of the most demanding venues in U.S. Women's Open history. In a dramatic finish, South Korea's Se Ri Pak outlasted amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn in a playoff to win the title; as a direct result women's golf exploded in popularity in Korea.


Whistling Straits - Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Just six years old when it played host to the first men's major in Wisconsin in seven decades, Whistling Straits proved to be a spectacular venue, setting records for a PGA Championship with more than 94,400 tickets sold, overall attendance of 320,000 and an economic impact of $76.9 million. Vijay Singh, 41, earned his third major title the hard way. He shot a final-round 76 and then had to beat Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco in a three-hole aggregate playoff. Three weeks later, Singh ascended to No. 1 in the world ranking, displacing Tiger Woods.


Whistling Straits - Sheboygan, Wisconsin

In parching heat and winds whipping off Lake Michigan, Brad Bryant closed with a 68, the low round of the day, to leapfrog five players -- most notably eight-time major champion Tom Watson -- and claim the title. "Gosh, dreams do come true," said the 52-year-old Bryant, who finished at 6-under 282 and earned $470,000. Watson, the 54-hole leader, led Bryant by three shots with eight holes to go but played Nos. 11-14 in 4-over par and his fourth legitimate bid to win his first U.S. Senior Open title was over.


Whistling Straits - Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Seven different players held at least a share of the lead in the final round before Martin Kaymer of Germany emerged with his first major title, after a three-hole playoff with Bubba Watson. Dustin Johnson birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to take a one-shot lead but grounded his club in an un-raked bunker on a hillside above the 18th fairway. Johnson thought he was in an area of the rough trampled into dirt by spectators. The resulting two-stroke penalty turned his apparent bogey into a triple-bogey and knocked him out of what would have been a three-way playoff.


Erin Hills and Blue Mound Golf & Country Club - Hartford, Wisconsin

Erin Hills had been open for just five years when it played host to the U.S. Amateur, considered a prelude to the U.S. Open. Qualifying for the Amateur requires two courses to accommodate 312 players; Blue Mound was the second course. In a memorable 36-hole finale, Kelly Kraft upset No. 1-ranked amateur Patrick Cantlay, 2 up, to earn the Havemeyer Trophy and a spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team. A number of future PGA Tour winners were in the field, including Harris English, Russell Henley, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth (who reached the quarterfinals).


Blackwolf Run - Kohler, Wisconsin

Fourteen years after the first U.S. Women's Open was held at Blackwolf Run, the championship returned. This time the hybrid course made up of holes from the River and Meadow Valleys measured 6,954 yards, an increase of 542 yards. Na Yeon Choi of South Korea won her first major title in oppressive heat, finishing with a 7-under 281 total. Amy Yang was runner-up, four shots back. They were the only two players under par. Se Ri Pak, the champion in 1998, finished in a tie for ninth place. New Zealand's Lydia Ko, 15, tied for 39th and was low amateur.


Whistling Straits - Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Australian Jason Day set a major championship scoring record (since tied) with a 20-under 268 total and held off Jordan Spieth by three strokes. Spieth was attempting to win his third major of the year; the runner-up finish allowed him to overtake Rory McIlroy and become No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Spieth finished the year 54-under par in the majors, surpassing Tiger Woods' record from 2000. Branden Grace of South Africa and Justin Rose of England tied for third. Kaymer, who'd won the PGA five years earlier at Whistling Straits, finished fifth. 

This article is written by Gary D'Amato from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to