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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Subscribe Today

Get our best training tips, videos, and tee times deals -- straight to your inbox

Tee Times Deals to your inbox
Join our mailing list today!


Alex M. unlocked the Golf Guru Achievement!
Reviewed 5 golf courses.

Alex M.  left a review of Anaheim Hills

Alex M.  Scored 71 at  Anaheim Hills Anaheim, California

Christie F.  uploaded a photo of Myrtle Beach National, Kings North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

View Activity Feed

Video of the Day
Keeping Your Eye On The Ball Watch Video>>

Tee Time Deals

Friday, Mar 23 to Wednesday, Mar 28

Related Articles

Article Image How To Play Match Play

Match play in golf is a different game than what most golfers and fans ...

Article Image How to Mark a Golf Ball on the Green

Removing and replacing your golf ball is an integral component of the p...

Article Image Golf Course ADA Rules

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is Federal law that applies t...

Article Image How To Play Four Ball

Four ball is a type of match play that golfers can engage in that pits ...

View All Related Articles