Ten Things You Probably Never Knew About The US Open
The great and the good of the golfing world are preparing the converge on California, as the 119th US Open swings into action at Pebble Beach. Arriving in red-hot form, reigning champion Brooks Koepka will start as favourite, but with challengers including Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and some bloke names Tiger on his heels, it promises to be a thrilling weekend.
All four days of the tournament will be live on Sky Sports Golf (Virgin TV 404), and if you fancy showing off while tuning in then read on! We’ve gathered ten facts that you probably haven’t heard before – and chances are your mates haven’t either!
1. While the tournament is now a major part of the international sporting calendar, its beginnings were a little less auspicious; the very first staging had to be rescheduled by a month, to avoid a clash with the America’s Cup yacht race!
2. It was first held in 1895, over one day. Playing 36 holes on a nine-hole course in Newport, Rhode Island, Horace Rawlins took away the first prize of $150.
3. If you’re wondering how that prize money compares with the present day…well, brace yourself. The tournament awards a whopping $12 million in prize money, with the champ taking away a cool $2.1m.
4. Brooks Koepka could become just the second man to win three consecutive US Opens; the other to achieve the feat was Willie Anderson, who managed it from 1903-1905.
5. While four players have won the tournament on four different occasions, Phil Mickelson holds a decidedly unwanted record; he’s finished runner-up no less than six times.
6. Whoever comes out on top, you’d hope it’s a little more competitive than the 2000 renewal; on that occasion, Tiger Woods finished up 15 shots ahead of his rivals, a record for any major tournament.
7. While the likes of Tiger have impressed with their longevity, they’ve got a way to go to catch Jack Nicklaus; the man known as The Golden Bear played the tournament 44 years running.
8. Like any sporting event, upsets are always possible – but nothing could top the events of 1955. Host broadcasters had cancelled all of it’s scheduled programs to witness Ben Hogan’s record-breaking fifth win…when Jack Fleck tied him at the 18th, beforre winning the playoff the following day.
9. While the tournament maintained a full fifth round as a play-off until two years ago, it’s now a two-hole affair. Those hoping for a repeat of 2008’s theatrics (or, indeed, 1955’s!) will be disappointed, then!
10. If the average weekend player is looking for a US Open spirit animal – well, its Ray Ainsley. In 1938, he hit his ball into a creek on the par-4 16th…and continued to swing at it as it floated along. His final score for the hole? 19 – a quindecuple bogey!
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