US Open milestones: 100 years ago, WWI canceled play
By Doug Ferguson
A look at some of the anniversaries this year at the U.S. Open:
100 years ago (1917): Bobby Jones made some of his greatest contributions, even though he wasn't playing. The U.S. Open was canceled in 1917 when the United States entered World War I. Jones was a teenage golf prodigy, and he spent two years touring the country for exhibitions that helped raise $150,000 for the American Red Cross. The U.S. Open resumed in 1919 and was won by Walter Hagen. Four years later, Jones would win his first of four U.S. Opens.
75 years ago (1942): Ben Hogan won what some consider to be his first U.S. Open, except that it wasn't a U.S. Open. War interrupted the U.S. Open for the second time, this one lasting four years. The USGA, PGA of America and Chicago District Golf Association put on the "Hale America Open" as a substitute and to raise money for the USO and Navy Relief Society. Hogan, the winner by three shots over Jimmy Demaret, won a gold medal and $1,200 in war bonds. Just like the U.S. Open, there was local and sectional qualifying across the country.
50 years ago (1967): Five years after Jack Nicklaus won his first U.S. Open, he set the U.S. Open scoring record in a most unusual fashion for a four-shot victory over Arnold Palmer at Baltusrol. The 54-hole leader was Marty Fleckman, a Texas amateur. One shot behind him were three of the biggest names in golf — Nicklaus, Palmer and Billy Casper. Fleckman shot an 80. Casper, trying to repeat as U.S. Open champion, could do no better than 72. Nicklaus and Palmer had a duel that lasted only about six holes. Nicklaus pulled away and the only matter left to settle was the 72-hole record. Nicklaus needed a birdie for 275, which would break Ben Hogan's record that had stood since 1948. Nicklaus had to lay well back on the par-5 closing hole, then hit 1-iron onto the green and made the birdie for the record.
25 years ago (1992): Tom Kite was the first player bestowed the label "best to have never won a major" until he outlasted a rough wind at Pebble Beach to win the U.S. Open. The key moment was Kite's chip-in for birdie on the par-3 seventh and his 30-foot birdie putt on No. 12. He led by as many as four shots, made par on the 18th and won by two shots over Jeff Sluman. Gil Morgan opened with 66-69 and reached 12-under par through the seventh hole of the third round, the lowest to par anyone had ever been at the U.S. Open. He played his next seven holes in 9 over to shoot 77, and closed with an 81. Colin Montgomerie finished third with a 70, and sat next to Jack Nicklaus in the broadcast booth as Nicklaus said it might be enough to win. It wasn't. And it never was for Montgomerie in the majors.
20 years ago (1997): In the first major since 21-year-old Tiger Woods won the Masters by 12 shots, Ernie Els was the first to step forward by winning at Congressional for his second U.S. Open title. Woods was never a factor. Tom Lehman was a 54-hole leader for the third straight U.S. Open and was right in the mix until he pulled his second shot into the water on the 17th. Colin Montgomerie was poised for his first major until he missed the 17th green, chipped to 5 feet and took the longest time before he missed the par putt. Els was steady to the end. His 5-iron found the 17th green for a par, and a final par on the 18th gave him a 69 and a one-shot victory.
10 years ago (2007): Angel Cabrera made a birdie on his final hole Friday that caused Phil Mickelson to miss the cut. He made a tough par on his final hole Sunday to deny Tiger Woods a chance at a fourth U.S. Open title. Cabrera became the first Argentine in 40 years to capture a major when he closed with a 1-under 69 at Oakmont for a one-shot victory over Woods and Jim Furyk. It was the highest winning score at Oakmont since 1935, and the second straight year that the U.S. Open was won at 5-over 285. 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 his final 32 holes.
This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.