10 Facts about the U.S. Open (that you may not know)

Pinehurst #2, site of 2014 U.S. Open, pinehurst.com

Pinehurst #2, site of 2014 U.S. Open, pinehurst.com

The U.S. Open is one of the four total tournaments that make up the majors of golf; the remaining tournaments are the British Open, the Masters and the PGA Championship, but you already knew that, didn’t you? Besides the obvious, here are some fun facts about the upcoming U.S. Open:

  1. This upcoming event will be the first time in history that both the men and women’s tournaments will be played in the same year on the same exact course.
  2. Pinehurst will be the first site to have hosted all five of the USGA Championships. This fact is amazing because grand slam has existed since 1934 when the Masters was founded.
  3. By most standards, a golf playoff consists of a do-or-die, one-hole scenario, but that usual approach doesn’t occur at the U.S. Open. If you think 72 holes are a test to your knees, try playing 90 holes over five days. The Open uses an 18-hole playoff after a tie on the 72-hole outing. If the players are still tied after the playoff, the game turns into a sudden-death match to determine a victor.
  4. Once thought to be on the way to becoming the greatest golfer of all time, Tiger Woods hasn’t won a U.S. open since 2008, where he won in a 5-day 91-hole contest over Rocco Mediate. He has pulled out of this year’s tournament.
  5. A fan favorite, Phil Mickelson, has played in the U.S. open more times than many of us will play a full game of golf in a year. For all of his appearances, he has yet to finish first in the event. Sadly enough, he has been runner up for an unwanted record 6 times. Will 2014 year be his year?
  6. In 16 straight years, 16 international players won the U.S. Open between 1895 and 1910 until John McDermott broke the streak becoming the first American to win. While that feat is amazing in itself, he also became the youngest player ever to win the tournament at the age of 19.
  7. Ray Ainsley holds the worst score ever posted on a single hole. In 1938, Ray hit his ball into a creek and proceeded to swing at his ball while it sat in the water. Sometimes persistence is a good thing; in this case it lead to Ray posting a disastrous 19.
  8. The greatest comeback in the U.S. Open final round was accomplished by no other than the great Arnold Palmer. In 1960, at the Cherry Hills Country Club Palmer rallied back from a 7-stroke deficit to defeat a field featuring golf legends Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.
  9. At his prime, Tiger Woods was, well, he was Tiger – that unshakable force of nature that was considered a sure bet for victory. The stares he gave from below his Nike golf hat shook the competition and made him millions of dollars in endorsements. He has made his mark at many golf tournaments, but what he did at the U.S. open may never be matched by anyone again. Woods set the record for the largest margin of victory with a win gap of 15 strokes at the end of play in 2000, cementing his transition from a noteworthy athlete to something much more than that.
  10. Qualifying for the U.S. Open is not the easiest thing to do, even if you’re a professional. In fact, you may have a better chance of pulling an Andy Dufresne (of Shawshank Redemption) and escaping prison than getting a chance to play. In 1993 about 2 percent of inmates broke out of jail, compared to a .81 percent chance of all entrants to qualify for play.

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