20 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 flag blowing in the wind
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The US Open is one of the four men's Major championships and one of the oldest golf tournaments in the world, dating all the way back to 1895.

It's traditionally the toughest test in golf and takes place every June, with the final round always finishing on Father's Day. 

How well do you know the US Open? Get to know it better with these 20 facts...

1. Qualifying

Each year any amateur with a handicap index of 1.4 or lower can enter the US Open, with thousands of golfers attempting to qualify. There’s over 100 local qualifying sites around the US, with 11 final qualifying events. 

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, one of the five founding clubs of the USGA, 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

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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, some of the country's other best public golf 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

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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 holds the US Open trophy in front of the leaderboard in 2011

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy set the tournament record score of 268 with his 2011 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 holds the US Open trophy at Pebble Beach in 2000

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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 in the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

17. 10 Year exemption

There are plenty of perks of winning the US Open, with one of them being that you get to play in the next ten US Opens. That might sound great but Masters and PGA Championship wins earn you lifetime exemptions. Open Championship winners get to return until they're 60.

18. 10,000+ entries

The 2023 US Open, the 123rd playing of America's national open, saw a record 10,187 entries register for qualifying. That was only the second time more than 10,000 people entered, with the previous record being 10,127 for Pinehurst in 2014.

19. The trophy

The US Open trophy at The Country Club, Brookline

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 18-inch sterling silver US Open trophy resides at the USGA Museum in New Jersey, with winners receiving a full-size replica.

They get to keep it for a year, and are responsible for getting their name engraved, before returning it the following year where they receive a slightly smaller replica that is theirs to keep forever.

20. Highest purse of the men's majors

The US Open purse is traditionally higher than all three of the other men's Majors. In 2022, it was $17.5m compared to $14m for The Open and $15m at The Masters and PGA Championship.

That $17.5m figure jumped up $5m from the $12.5m on offer in 2021.

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x