We are only three days away from the 117th edition of U.S. Open Golf Championship. The coverage starts on DSPORT from June 15th, 08:30 PM onward. Happening for the first time at Erin Hills, Wisconsin, the U.S. Open 2017 promises some great performances. The U.S. Open has always been challenging, so is the 7693 yards Erin Hills course. However, there have been many such challenges in the past as well, and many golfers, with their outstanding performances, have overcome these challenges.
DSPORT picks 5 such performances which surprised everyone, made heroes into legends and marked themselves into the U.S. Open’s golden moments. Let’s have a look at these performances.
- Tiger Woods, Year 2000 at Pebble Beach
It was a picture perfect day at Pebble Beach, so was Woods who finished with a 12 under par total of 272 to win the Open by a record setting 15 strokes over Ernie Els of South Africa and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, who tied for second place at three over par. It was the largest victory margin in a major championship, surpassing the 13 stroke margin by Old Tom Morris at the 1862 British Open. The winning margin also broke the United States Open record that had stood for 101 years, surpassing the 11 stroke victory by Willie Smith in 1899.
Woods also set the record for lowest score in relation to par (12 strokes), breaking the previous record of eight under par set by Ben Hogan in 1948 and equaled by Jack Nicklaus in 1980, and Lee Janzen in 1993 and three others. And Woods’s winning total of 272 tied the all time winning totals set by Nicklaus and Janzen.
Ernie Els, who was just off the lead, said it best: “Finishing second is good but it’s kind of embarrassing being 15 shots back.”
- Arnold Palmer, Year 1960 at Cherry Hills
If there was a single swing that could make someone “The King,” it was Arnold Palmer hit on the first hole at Cherry Hills during U.S. Open 1960.
It’s one of the five most famous golf tournaments in history and one that bridged three generations of golf talent: Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. Hogan was an old 47, seven years beyond his last major, while Nicklaus was a pudgy, up-and-coming amateur. Then there was The King, a hero of golf fans and a two-time major champion fresh off a win at the 1960 Masters.
- Ben Hogan, Year 1950 at Merion
Hogan, who was making an unbelievable comeback from a major accident happened in February 1949, was greatly fatigued from the heat. He stood on the 18th fairway, improbably, with a chance to tie. That’s when he pulled his one-iron from his bag and ripped it onto the green, where he had two-putt for par to force a playoff he would win.
Hogan became an instant hit, beloved at last, a golfing celebrity. One year after his triumph, the movie “Follow the Sun,” starring Glenn Ford as Hogan, premiered. It told Hogan’s story of triumph.
- Tiger Woods, Year 2008 at Torrey Pines
“Expect anything different?” Dan Hicks spoke for the rest of the world when Tiger’s 15-foot putt on No. 18 fell for birdie, thrusting him into a playoff with a resigned-to-his-fate Rocco Mediate that would stretch out to 19 holes the following day. Important to mention, Tiger was playing on a broken leg. There was serious speculation that he might pull out of the tournament after wincing badly on shots.
Interestingly, Woods had told the doctors who recommended that he skip the tournament that he was going to play. “And I’m going to win the U.S. Open.”
- Payne Stewart, Year 1999 at Pinehurst
It was one of the great U.S. Open finishes of all time. Stewart and Phil Mickelson, who was walking around with a pager that would alert him if his wife went into labor with his first child, were tied after Nos. 10 and 11. Mickelson went ahead at No. 12 and Stewart tied for No. 13. Mickelson again took the lead at No. 15 but bogeyed 16 and saw Stewart birdie No. 17 to take a one-shot lead.
Stewart found himself in trouble off the tee on No. 18 but got up and down with a lengthy putt that dropped and led to Stewart’s one footed fist-pump that would become immortalized in statue after Stewart died in a plane crash four months later. But the enduring image from the ’99 Open is, after hitting the winning putt, Stewart grabbing Mickelson’s cheeks, looking into his eyes and saying “you’re going to be a great father.”