Things You Didn't Know About The US Open

The US Open is one of golf's most historic and prestigious championships, how well do you know it?

US Open trophy general view
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1. Qualifying

Each year any amateur with a handicap index of 1.4 or lower can enter the US Open, with over 8,000 golfers attempting to qualify. There’s over 100 local qualifying sites around the US, with 11 final qualifying events. A record 10,127 golfers entered in 2014 for the tournament at Pinehurst.

2. The first US Open

The first ever US Open took place in 1895, but it was actually considered the side show compared to the US Amateur. A total of 11 golfers played four rounds at the nine hole Newport Golf and Country Club, where 21-year-old Englishman Horace Rawlins became the inaugural US Open champion.

3. First American winner

It wasn’t until 1912 when an American - John McDermott - won the US Open. This was because the tournament was initially conducted mainly for the British wave of immigrant golf professionals coming to the United States.

4. First TV broadcast

In 1954 at Baltusrol, the US Open was roped from tee to green and was televised across the nation for the first time. NBC broadcast an hour of the final round. The tournament was won by Ed Furgol, who won his one and only Major by a single stroke from Gene Littler.

5. 72 holes

The tournament moved from its original total of 36 holes to 72 in 1898, but it wasn’t until 1965 when the US Open was played over four days of 18 holes as we now know it. Previously it had been held with two and three day formats.

6. First public course

Bethpage State Park Black Course first tee pictured

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In 2002, Bethpage State Park’s famous Black Course became the 'first' ever public course to host a US Open. Pebble Beach had hosted US Opens prior to 2002 and it is technically a 'public' course but is considered semi-private due to the need to stay at the resort to play and its high green fees. Since 2002, other public courses like Torrey Pines, Chambers Bay and Erin Hills have hosted the US Open.

7. International qualifying

In 2005, International Qualifying for the US Open was introduced, and it was that year when New Zealand's Michael Campbell, who came through qualifying at Walton Heath Golf Club in England, won the US Open at Pinehurst. Campbell's one and only Major victory came with a two stroke victory over Tiger Woods.

8. Youngest and oldest

In 2012 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, 17-year-old Beau Hossler became the youngest man to make the cut at a US Open since WWII. Sam Snead, at the age of 61, was the oldest player to make the cut in 1973 at Oakmont Country Club.

9. Most US Opens

Nobody has won five US Opens but four men are tied on four - Scotland’s Willie Anderson and Americans Robert Trent Jones Jr, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus. Tiger Woods and Hale Irwin have won three US Opens.

10. Tiger's record

Tiger Woods celebrates winning the 2008 US Open

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Tiger Woods is the only man to have won the US Junior Amateur, the US Amateur and the US Open. Woods has won three of each, the US Junior in 1991, 1992 and 1993, the US Amateur in 1994, 1995 and 1996 and the US Open in 2000, 2002 and 2008.

11. Debutant

The last person to win the US Open on their debut was amateur Francis Ouimet in 1913. Ouimet won the US Amateur the next year and was referred to as the "father of amateur golf."

12. It's tough

The US Open is famed for being played on long and difficult golf courses. In 2007, Oakmont’s par-3 8th hole measured 300 yards - the longest par-3 in US Open history. The championship's organisers, the USGA, tend to set the course up to be more demanding than all of the other men's Majors, with the winning score often in low single digits under-par, or even over-par.

13. McIlroy

Rory McIlroy set the tournament record score of 268 with his 2012 US Open win at Congressional. He also became the first golfer ever to reach 17-under-par in a US Open and holds the record score to par of 16-under with Brooks Koepka, who matched his total in 2017 at Erin Hills.

14. 157

JD Tucker set the unwanted record for the highest ever single round score in a US Open when he shot 157 at Massachusetts' Myopia Hunt Club in 1898.

15. Largest winning margin

Tiger Woods pebble

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Tiger Woods holds the championship's record for the largest winning margin of 15 strokes, which he set with his first US Open triumph in 2000 at Pebble Beach. Woods finished at 12-under-par, with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ernie Els sharing second place at three-over-par.

16. Mickelson

Phil Mickelson is one of the all-time greats of golf with six Major victories, but he is yet to taste success in his national open. Mickelson has won the Masters three times, the PGA Championship twice and the Open Championship once. Lefty has six runner-up finishes in the US Open.

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x