A capsule look at the previous eight U.S. Open golf championships held at Oakmont Country Club:
Winner: Tommy Armour
Score: 301 (76).
Runner-up: Harry Cooper (79)
Summary: Oakmont lived up to its reputation while hosting its first U.S. Open, with no one capable of breaking 300. Armour opened with a 78, and no U.S. Open champion since then has posted a higher score in the first round. It also was the last time a U.S. Open champion failed to break 300 over four rounds. Harry "Lighthorse" Cooper appeared to be the winner, even after a three-putt on the 71st hole. Armour, however, holed a 10-foot birdie on the final hole to force a playoff. Armour shot his third straight round of 76 in the playoff to win by three. The Ryder Cup was held for the first time in 1927, and the British team played in the U.S. Open.
Winner: Sam Parks Jr.
Margin: 2 shots.
Runner-up: Jimmy Thomson.
Summary: Oakmont again showed its brute strength when Parks, a professional at nearby South Hills Country Club, was the only player to break 300. He was tied with Jimmy Thomson going into the final round, but scoring was so difficult that none of the top 20 players on the leaderboard broke 75, and the low score of the final round was a 73. Parks prepared by playing Oakmont nearly every day for a month, and he had only two three-putts over 72 holes. Among those in the gallery was Harvard graduate Ed Stimpson, who was convinced the greens were too fast. He eventually created a device now called the Stimpmeter.
Winner: Ben Hogan.
Margin: 6 shots.
Runner-up: Sam Snead.
Summary: Two years after Sam Snead won the PGA Championship at Oakmont, he was no match for Hogan, who won the last of his record-tying four U.S. Open titles. Hogan opened with a 67, but Snead whittled away at the lead until he trailed by one shot going into the final 18 holes. Hogan went 3-3-3 to close with a 71 for a six-shot victory over his fiercest rival. Snead never seriously challenged again in the U.S. Open, the only major he failed to win. Hogan became the first wire-to-wire winner of the since Jim Barnes in 1921, and the six-shot margin was the largest in 15 years.
Winner: Jack Nicklaus.
Runner-up: Arnold Palmer.
Summary: In the most memorable major at Oakmont, 22-year-old rookie Jack Nicklaus heralded his arrival by beating Arnold Palmer in his own backyard. Nicklaus, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, was two shots behind going into the final 18 holes. Palmer was ahead by three until flubbing a chip on the ninth hole and taking bogey, and a bogey from the bunker on the 13th left him tied with Nicklaus. That's how they stayed, Nicklaus closing with a 69 to Palmer's 71, setting up an 18-hole playoff. Nicklaus built a four-shot lead through six holes and withstood Arnie's charge that pulled him within one. Palmer three-putted the 13th to stay two shots behind and never made up any more ground. Nicklaus shot 71 in the playoff to win by three, capturing the first of 18 professional majors.
Winner: Johnny Miller.
Margin: 1 shot.
Runner-up: John Schlee.
Summary: Johnny Miller is the only player to shoot 63 in the final round of a major and win, and it remains what many believe is the best round ever played in the U.S. Open. He was six shots out of the lead going into the final round, held by Arnold Palmer, John Schlee, Julius Boros and Jerry Heard. Oakmont was never more vulnerable, although its soft conditions remain subject to debate. Some say the sprinklers were left on; others say lightning made the sprinklers come on overnight. Miller teed off an hour before the leaders and made nine birdies. His putt for a 62 on the 18th spun out of the cup.
Winner: Larry Nelson.
Margin: 1 shot.
Runner-up: Tom Watson.
Summary: Nelson opened with 75-73 and was seven shots behind John Mahaffey and rookie Joe Rassett going into the weekend. He played the final 36 holes in 132, which remains a U.S. Open record. A 65 in the third round left the 35-year-old Nelson one shot behind Seve Ballesteros and Watson. Nelson and Watson were tied when the final round was suspended by thunderstorms. When play resumed Monday morning, Nelson holed a 60-foot birdie putt on the 16th to take a one-shot lead. Nelson three-putted the final hole for a 67, but Watson missed a 5-foot par putt on the 17th and failed to catch him on the final hole.
Winner: Ernie Els.
Runner-up: Loren Roberts, Colin Montgomerie.
Summary: It was the first three-man playoff at the U.S. Open in 31 years, but it didn't have to be that way. Roberts had a 4Â½-foot par putt to win the tournament on the 72nd hole, but missed it badly for a 70. Els didn't look at the scoreboard to see that he had a one-shot lead, played aggressively and had to make a 5-foot bogey putt for 73. Montgomerie was the only player to never have a chance to win, shooting his 70 earlier and waiting in the clubhouse. Montgomerie, dressed in dark clothing on a sweltering day, shot 78 in the playoff. Els opened bogey-triple bogey, but played the rest of his round at 1 under for a 74 to match Roberts. Els won on the 20th hole when Roberts' approach on the 11th caught a bunker and he blasted out to 30 feet and made bogey. Els became the first foreign-born winner of the U.S. Open since David Graham in 1981.
Winner: Angel Cabrera.
Margin: 1 shot.
Runner-up: Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk.
Prize: $1.26 million.
Summary: Cabrera became the first Argentine in 40 years to win a major. He became the champion sitting in the locker room as Jim Furyk faltered late and Tiger Woods couldn't buy a birdie. Cabrera made two birdies on the back nine, the last one on the 15th, and closed with a 69 to finish at 5-over 285. It was the highest winning score at Oakmont since 1935. Furyk was tied for the lead until he tried to drive the 17th green and made bogey. Woods, playing in the final group for the second straight major without winning, made only one birdie over the final 32 holes.
This article was written by Doug Ferguson from the Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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