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Round 2: 36 things to know
Study and you too can become an expert on the country's biggest tournamentat the very least, you could impress your friends.
1. First U.S. Open: In 1895, Horace Rawlins wins at Newport Country Club in Newport, R.I. The tournament was considered a sideshow to the U.S. Amateur, which was played on the same course and during the same week. Rawlins beat a field of 11 players and took home $150 and a gold medal. This year's champion will take home $1.08 million. He probably will value the gold medal more.
2. This is the 13th U.S. Open in the Chicago area. Nine of them took place in or before 1933. Chicago's Open courses include Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton (1897, 1900, 1911), Glen View Club in Golf (1904), Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest (1906), Midlothian Country Club (1914), Skokie Country Club in Glencoe (1922), Olympia Fields Country Club (1928, 2003), North Shore Golf Club in Glenview (1933) and Medinah Country Club (1949, 1975, 1990).
3. You'll hear a lot about Johnny Farrell this week. In 1928 Farrell defeated Bobby Jones in a 36-hole playoff to win the Open at Olympia Fields. He won with a birdie putt on the final hole. Jones never lost another Open. You'll also hear a lot about Mike Donald. In 1990 the little-known Donald lost in a playoff to Hale Irwin at Medinah. Donald would never come close again.
4. In 1913 unknown American Francis Ouimet put the Open on the map. He stunned top European players such as Harry Vardon to win at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Ouimet became an instant folk hero, sparking unprecedented interest in the game in America.
5. Since 1991 the defending U.S. Open champion has not fared well. Three champions have missed the cut, and only one player has finished better than tied for 40th. Here's a list of the last 12 champions and what each did the following year:
2001: Retief Goosen, missed cut
2000: Tiger Woods, tie 12th
1999: Payne Stewart, DNP (deceased)
1998: Lee Janzen, tie 46th
1997: Ernie Els, tie 48th
1996: Steve Jones, tie 60th
1995: Corey Pavin, tie 40th
1994: Ernie Els, missed cut
1993: Lee Janzen, missed cut
1992: Tom Kite, missed cut
1991: Payne Stewart, tie 51st
1990: Hale Irwin, tie 11th
6. There has been only one repeat champion in the Open since Ben Hogan did it in 1950-51. Curtis Strange won back-to-back in 1988-89.
7. The most memorable Open picture has to be the timeless shot of Ben Hogan framed by the galleries at the 1950 Open at Merion. Hogan's victory in his first Open since his near-fatal car accident in 1949 forever sealed his legend.
8. There are nine previous Open champions in the field this year: Ernie Els (1994, '97), Retief Goosen (2001), Hale Irwin (1974, '79, '90), Lee Janzen (1993, '98), Tom Kite (1992), Steve Jones (1996), Corey Pavin (1995), Tom Watson (1982) and Tiger Woods (2000, '02).
9. Best Open ever? The consensus seems to be the 1960 event at Cherry Hills. Arnold Palmer rallied to victory, beating a young amateur named Jack Nicklaus and an old veteran named Ben Hogan. Does it get much better? Palmer sealed his legacy by driving the 335-yard first green to open the last round, igniting his rally from seven shots back, the largest comeback in the final round of an Open.
10. Sam Snead won 81 PGA Tour titles, but he never won an Open. He came in second four times and managed a tie for ninth in 1968 when he was 56.
11. Andy North won only three PGA Tour titles, but two of them were Open victories in 1978 and 1985. That's two more Open titles than Sam Snead and one more than Arnold Palmer.
12. Trivia question: Who won the 1975 Open at Medinah? Answer: Lou Graham, an unlikely champion.
13. Hale Irwin will be playing in his 33rd consecutive Open and his 34th overall. He started his streak in 1971 after playing his first Open as an amateur in 1966. The other players in the field with most Open appearances (including 2003): Tom Watson 30, Tom Kite 29, Jay Haas 24, Scott Hoch 22, Mark O'Meara 22, Corey Pavin 21, Brad Faxon 19, and Bernhard Langer 19.
14. The most strokes under par at any given point is 12. Tiger Woods finished at 12 under during his victory at Pebble Beach, and Gil Morgan got to 12 under during the 1992 Open at Pebble Beach.
15. The ninth hole at Olympia Fields will be the second-longest par-4 in U.S. Open history. Here are the longest par-4s (yards, hole, course, year):
499: 12th at Bethpage, 2002
496: 9th at Olympia Fields, 2003
492: 10th at Bethpage, 2002
491: 16th at Southern Hills, 2001
489: 16th at Pinehurst, 1999
489: 7th at Bethpage, 2002
486: 16th at Cherry Hills, 1978
16. Hale Irwin was the oldest champion, winning the 1990 U.S. Open at Medinah at 45. John McDermott was the youngest champion, winning the 1911 Open at 19. Tyrell Garth is the youngest player to compete in an Open. He was 14 when he played in 1941.
17. There are four players who have won four Opens: Willie Anderson (1901, '03-05), Bobby Jones (1923, '26, '29-30), Ben Hogan (1948, '50-51, '53) and Jack Nicklaus (1962, '67, '72, '80). Four players have had four runner-up finishes: Jones, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer and Nicklaus.
18. Arnold Palmer's biggest heartbreak came when he blew a seven-shot lead with nine holes to play during the final round at the Olympic Club in 1966. Billy Casper rallied to tie and then won a playoff the following day.
19. There have been many great performances in Open history, but Tiger Woods' romp at Pebble Beach has to rate as the best. Finishing at 12 under, he beat the field by 15 shots. But the best single-round performance goes to Johnny Miller. In 1973 Miller shot a final-round 63 to win at Oakmont. In the days before 18-hole coverage, Miller finished play on that Sunday before ABC went on the air.
20. Besides Johnny Miller, three other players have shot 63 in an Open: Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf both did it during the first round at Baltusrol in 1980, and Neal Lancaster posted the low score at Oakland Hills in 1996.
21. Looking for the best shot? It is hard to beat Tom Watson's shot in 1982. Staring at bogey, he chipped in for birdie from the rough on the 17th green at Pebble Beach in the final round as he won his only Open.
22. Best Open player? Jack Nicklaus, who holds records for most consecutive appearances (44), rounds (160) and rounds in the 60s (29). Tiger Woods, who is playing his ninth Open, currently has 10 rounds in the 60s. To surpass Nicklaus' Open streak, Woods will have to play in every Open until 2039when he would be 63.
23. The best 4-wood shot in Open history? Corey Pavin at Shinnecock Hills in 1995, when he knocked a 4-wood to 4 feet on the 18th hole to wrap up his victory.
24. The low score to win an Open is 272. It was achieved by Jack Nicklaus (1980, Baltusrol), Lee Janzen (1993, Baltusrol) and Tiger Woods (2000, Pebble Beach). The highest winning score belonged to Willie Anderson, who won with 331 at the Myopia Hunt Club in 1901.
25. Little wonder why Medinah Country Club was upset with the way the course was set up for the 1990 Open. A record 28 players finished under par. The next closest was the 1988 Open at Hazeltine, which had 11.
26. The 1974 Open is known as the massacre at Winged Foot. On the heels of Johnny Miller's 63 in 1973, the USGA vowed there wouldn't be a repeat. Sure enough, Hale Irwin won at 7 over par. The tournament featured only seven rounds below par.
27. Jack Nicklaus holds the record for the longest span from first victory to last victory: 18 years. He won his first Open in 1962 and his last in 1980.
28. There have been six start-to-finish winners: Walter Hagen, 1914; James Barnes, 1921; Ben Hogan, 1953; Tony Jacklin, 1970, and Tiger Woods, 2000 and 2002.
29. Tony Jacklin is the last European player to win the Open. The Englishman took the title at Hazeltine in 1970. There have been three winners from South Africa since 1994: Ernie Els, 1994 and 1997, and Retief Goosen in 2001.
30. If there is a heat wave this week, the story of Ken Venturi's victory in 1964 will be retold many times. Playing in a scorcher at Congressional Country Club, Venturi overcame dehydration to survive a 36-hole final day. When it was over, he uttered his famous line, "My God, I've won the Open."
31. Sam Snead was the oldest player to make the cut. At 61, he finished tied for 29th in 1973.
32. Who holds the record for most times being low amateur in an Open? Bobby Jones, no surprise, with nine.
33. The reigning U.S. Open, British Open and U.S. Amateur champions are traditionally paired together for the first two rounds of the Open. So this year Tiger Woods will be paired with British Open winner Ernie Els and U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes of Stockton, Calif.
34. Big numbers: J.D. Tucker shot 157 in the first round of the 1898 event at Myopia Hunt Club, the highest ever. Since World War II the highest score was John Battini's 96 in 1955's first round at the Olympic Club. In the last 25 years, the highest score was Mike Davis' 92 in the second round of the 1992 event at Pebble Beach.
35. Only five players have ever won the Masters and Open titles in the same yearCraig Wood (1941), Ben Hogan (1951 and 1953), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972) and Tiger Woods (2002). Thirteen players have won both events in their careers, the most recent being Woods.
36. Take heart, first-timers. Tiger Woods missed the cut in his first Open at Shinnecock Hills in 1995. He withdrew because of a sore wrist. In his second Open, he finished tied for 82nd.