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Sports Then and Now

When Scotland Ruled the US Open Fairways 2

Posted on March 02, 2011 by Rod Crowley

Willie Anderson, four times winner of the US Open between 1901 - 1905.

It is hard to imagine nowadays but once upon a time Scotland dominated the US Open Golf Championship, winning twelve of the first sixteen tournaments, between 1895 and 1910. Amongst those early winners was Willie Anderson who won four times and remains only one of four golfers in the history of the event to have won that many. Anderson is also the only golfer to have won the tournament three times successively, a record that is likely to be in the books forever more.

The first American to win the prestigious US Open golf title was John McDermott, who won twice in succession in 1911 and 1912. His wins in fact sparked American dominance in their home ‘Major’ tournament and was hugely responsible for generating the sport’s popularity in the States.

Scottish success was not completely over however with Willie Macfarlane winning in 1925 becoming the last player from the ‘home of golf’ to have won; he was also the last non-American player to win until Gary Player, the great South African took the title in 1965.

Surprisingly Player only ever won the tournament once but over the years but there have been two golfers from South Africa to have achieved two wins. Firstly Ernie Els, who won in 1994 and 1997 and was followed in by Retief Goosen who claimed the title in 2001 and 2004. Other recent dual winners are the late Payne Stewart, Lee Janzen, Curtis Strange, Andy North, Lee Trevino and Billy Casper.

Tiger Woods is one of only two players to have a hat trick of wins his most recent coming in 2008 when he played his play-off round against Rocco Mediate with a serious injury to his left knee. Woods did not play again that year and has not won another ‘Major’ since. Woods also won in 2000 and 2002 and was second in 2005 and 2007. The other player with three wins is the very popular Hale Irwin, whose third win in 1990 made him the oldest player at 45 to have won the US Open. He also won in 1974 and 1975.

There are three players other than Anderson who have four titles and all three are regarded as legends of the sport of golf, they are Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones, the latter being the last amateur to have lifted the crown. Nicklaus who last won in 1980 was also runner up on five occasions but still holds the record for the most ‘Majors’ won of 18.

In the modern golf era one player who can count himself unlucky not to have won more than once is Phil Mickelson has finished up, like Nicklaus runner up or tied runner up on five times.

The defending champion is Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, who will be looking to join the illustrious list of multiple US Open winners when the 2011 US Open gets underway on the Blue Course at the Congressional Golf Club in Bethesda, Maryland on June 15th and the US Open betting is sure to have the Ryder Cup hero and current world number four as a strong contender to do so.

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