The US Open Golf History

By Teresa Justine Kelly

The U.S. Open was first played in Newport, Rhode Island on October 4, 1895, on the nine-hole Newport Golf and Country Club. The U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open tournaments were both scheduled for September, but were postponed because of Newport's America's Cup yacht races. The U.S. Open is now one of golf's four major tournaments.

History

The U.S. Open is the second oldest of the four major golf tournaments. The United States Golf Association stages the event on some of the most prestigious golf courses in America. The tournament is organized so that the final round is always played on the third Sunday in June.

Time Frame

The first U.S. Open was a secondary consideration to the first U.S. Amateur tournament, which was played on the same course in Newport during the same week.

Features

The first U.S. Open hosted ten professionals and one amateur who played the 36-hole competition in one day, golfing the nine holes four times. The winner of the first U.S. Open was Horace Rawlins, a 21-year-old Englishman, and the first prize was $150 from the total prize money of $335.

Significance

During the first decade of the U.S. Open, tournament winners were experienced British players. In 1911, the first native-born American, John McDermott, won the title, and he won again the following year. Since that date, American players have generally dominated.

Types

The format of the U.S. Open has changed over the years. In 1898 the USGA lengthened the championship to 72 holes, with 36 of the holes played in each of two days. In 1926, the format was changed again to 18 holes played in each of two days, then 36 holes on the third day. In 1965, the format which exists today--18 holes of golf played in each of four days--was introduced.

Fun Fact

Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson, as of 2009, are the only four golfers to win four U.S. Opens. In 2002, a cross-over tee format was introduced. Holes number one and ten were both starting tees for the first and second rounds. Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, NY, was the first public golf course to host the tournament.

About The Author

Teresa Kelly graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She was an editor for seven years for several magazines and publishing houses. Kelly is an avid golfer, a well-known children's book and golf author, and is currently the president of Highview Press/Golfing Lady that produces all occasion golf greeting cards.

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