The US Open of Golf
The United States Open Championship of Golf has taken place since the year 1895. It is one of the four major championships in golf where the best of the best compete to prove themselves.
Each year, the tournament is played in different courses in the US. The tournament is known for the way the courses are prepared. Driving accuracy and pristine putting is a must if you’d like to have a chance to be in contention. It is common to see tremendously thick rough (termed "Open rough" by the American press and fans) and lightning fast and undulating greens reaching over 14 feet on the stimpmeter at times (such as at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005, which was described by Johnny Miller of NBC as "like trying to hit a ball on top of a VW Beetle").
It is very common to see some pretty high winning scores, scores that might not even make the cut in other tournaments. This goes to show how tough the courses are set up. In 2006 and 2007, the winning scores were 5 over par. The winners were Geoff Ogilvy and Ángel Cabrera respectively. If we dig a little deeper into history, Walter Hagen won the 1919 US Open with a score of 17 over par. These scores would for sure send you home by Friday afternoon in any other tournament.
One of the most impressive performances in golf to date, was Tiger Woods’ win in the 2000 US Open played at the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links. Tied for second were Ernie Els and Miguel Ángel Jiménez with a score of 2 over par. However, Tiger finished miles away with a score of 12 under par to win by 15 strokes. This was one of Tiger’s most dominant performances that showed how superior he was that weekend.
Tiger Woods’ win over Rocco Mediate in 2008 ranks among the best head-to-head matches in US Open history. The difference in the players’ rankings and styles was compelling and Woods played on a severely injured knee throughout the week. The tournament went to an 18-hole playoff and was ultimately decided by sudden death.
The lowest score at a US Open was achieved by the Irish Rory Mcllroy and American Brooks Koepka, both achieving rounds of 16 under par in 2011 and 2017 respectively. Both players won by large margins in these editions of the US Open.
The 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines, won by the Spaniard Jon Rahm, had a purse of $12.5 million where the winner took home $2.25 million as well as the beautiful US Open trophy. Rahm made two clutch putts on the 17th and 18th holes to end the weekend with two birdies and win by one stroke, one of the most thrilling endings of a US Open. Winners are also invited to play the other three major tournaments for the next 5 years and earn a ten-year exemption from qualifying for the U.S. Open.
As with every major, the US Open is one of the toughest challenges on tour. Players who manage to win the tournament will be respected and remembered forever in the world of golf.