The US Open – Everything you need to know!

US Open Golf All You Need To Know

A Storied History of the US Open

The United States Open (US Open) was first hosted in 1895, making it the second oldest major in golf behind the British Open. The first event was held at Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island and featured 11 golfers competing over 36 holes for the gold medal and $150. The event was changed to 72 holes starting in 1898 and has remained that way ever since. The early period of the U.S. Open was marked by domination from British golfers, as there were more British professionals at the time than Americans. The first American-born champion came in 1911 with John McDermott, and since that time Americans have come to dominate the event in their own right.  

A Father’s Day Tradition

The U.S. Open has become a Father’s Day tradition of sorts within the United States. As the second major of every year after the Masters, the U.S. Open is held by the USGA in mid-June, with the final round being played on the third Sunday of the month which is Father’s Day in America. This has produced some memorable family moments.

Jim Furyk 2003 Father's Day Present
Jim Furyk celebrates the best Father’s day present with his wife Tabitha and daughter Caleigh after a three-stroke victory at the 2003 US Open
📸 credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

There have been some rare instances where the event was held on a different month, with the most recent being the 2020 U.S. Open held in mid-September of that year.

Another unique feature in the history of the U.S. Open comes in regard to its playoff format. Unlike the other three majors, if there was a tie after 72 holes on Sunday the players who are tied traditionally played a full 18 holes on Monday instead of a sudden death playoff. There has been a total of 33 playoffs in the major’s history. In 2018 this was changed to a two hole playoff, on the Sunday. If the players are still tied after those two holes there is a sudden death where the golfer that wins the next hole wins the major.  

A True Challenge

Aside from the Father’s Day finish and playoff format, what makes the U.S. Open truly unique is its courses. As Jack Nicklaus stated best about the U.S. Open, “the tournament is a complete examination of the golfer.” What he meant is that the courses are set up in a way to be a true challenge for golfers, with many of the finishes at the event being over par. Courses are not only lengthened considerably (Torrey Pines in 2021 was 7,800 yards), but the fairways are more narrow and the rough is grown out to make it more difficult and penalising for golfers who are not accurate off the tee. Not only this, but the greens are made faster to provide an even greater challenge to the best golfers in the world. 

Typical Example of US Open Rough
Typical Example of US Open Rough

The philosophy of the USGA is to make the U.S. Open the toughest challenge that golfers will face every year, and as such they are not only highly selective in the golf courses they choose but also willing to make numerous changes to the course if necessary ahead of time to meet the standards the organisation has.

A Unique Watching Experience

The challenging course setups also make the US Open it one of the most interesting events for fans of sport to watch. It can seem daunting to watch golfers drive the golf ball nearly 350 yards and make putts from seemingly anywhere on the green, but the U.S. Open brings these golfers back down the Earth. Amateur golfers can certainly relate watching these golfers struggling to make pars and bogeys on practically every hole, and that is what makes the U.S. Open both fun and unique to watch.  

A Work of Art

The US Open Golf Trophy, also known as the U.S. Open Championship Trophy, is one of the most prestigious prizes in professional golf. Surprisingly, unlike many other major sports trophies, it doesn’t have an individual name.

US Open Golf Trophy
US Open Golf Trophy

The current trophy is a work of art, designed by the legendary golf course architect, Donald Ross, in 1947. Ross also designed some of the most famous golf courses in the world, including Pinehurst No. 2 and Oak Hill Country Club, created a unique design that has become an iconic symbol of the U.S. Open. The original trophy was destroyed in a fire in 1946 after Lloyd Mangrum (that year’s winner) took it to his home club.

The new trophy is made of sterling silver and stands 18 inches tall and six inches in diameter. Lifting the trophy isn’t too difficult, it only weighs 8.5 pounds (3.9 kgs). On one side of the trophy is an engraving of the words “United States Golf Association Open Championship.” Beneath it, an engraved laurel wreath wraps a scene of four golfers. The lid of the trophy is topped by a winged, female figure representing victory. The US Open winners names are all engraved around the base.

One of the unique features of the U.S. Open Trophy is that the winner only gets to keep it for a year. After that, the trophy is returned to the United States Golf Association (USGA), who then present it to the next year’s winner. The winner does get a gold medal (known as the Jack Nicklaus Medal) to keep and both them and their host club are allowed to order one replica trophy each from the USGA.

What is the purse for the US Open Golf Championship?

The US Open Golf Championship has one of the largest purses in world sport and the biggest pot of golf’s four majors. The Prize fund varies from year to year, but it has consistently grown over time. Here’s the prize pot and 1st place winnings for the last few years:

2023 – ???

2022 – $17.5m pot – Winner Matt Fitzpatrick received $3.15

2021 – $12.5m pot – Winner Jon Rahm received $2.25m

2020 – $12.0m pot – Winner Bryson DeChambeau received $2.25m

With such a large purse at stake, it’s no surprise that the US Open is one of the most highly anticipated golf tournaments of the year.

How does the US Open differ from other major golf championships?

The U.S. Open is one of the four major golf championships, along with the Masters, the Open Championship (British Open), and the PGA Championship. While each of these tournaments is highly prestigious, the U.S. Open stands out in a few key ways.

First and foremost, the U.S. Open is known for its difficulty. The tournament is traditionally held on courses that are specifically designed to be challenging, with narrow fairways, deep bunkers, and thick rough. The greens are usually lightning-fast and feature complex undulations, making putting a real test of skill. As a result, the U.S. Open is often won by players who excel at accuracy and precision, rather than raw power.

Another way in which the U.S. Open differs from other major championships is in its focus on pars. While other tournaments may reward aggressive play and birdies, the U.S. Open is often won by players who are able to consistently make pars. This is due in part to the difficulty of the courses, but also to the fact that the U.S. Open traditionally features narrow fairways and small greens, making it difficult for players to hit approach shots close to the hole.

Finally, the U.S. Open is unique in that it places a greater emphasis on history and tradition than many other tournaments. The event has been held annually since 1895, and many of the greatest players in golf history have won the tournament. The U.S. Open also features a number of unique traditions, such as the presentation of the trophy on the 18th green, and the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the winner’s ceremony.

How do golfers qualify for the US Open Golf Championship?

There are several ways for golfers to earn a spot in the U.S. Open field, ranging from exemption categories to qualifying rounds. Let’s take a closer look at each of these methods:

Exemption Categories

Exemption categories are pre-determined groups of players who are exempt from having to qualify for the U.S. Open. These categories have changed throughout the years but the categories for 2023 (listed on US Open Official Website) qualification are:

  • F-1. Winners of the U.S. Open Championship the last 10 years (2013-22)
  • F-2. From the 2022 U.S. Open Championship, the 10 lowest scorers and anyone tying for 10th place
  • F-3. Winner of the 2022 U.S. Senior Open Championship
  • F-4. Winner of the 2022 U.S. Amateur Championship
  • F-5. Winners of the 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships, and the 2022 U.S. Amateur runner-up (must be an amateur)
  • F-6. Winners of the Masters Tournament (2019-2023)
  • F-7. Winners of the PGA Championship (2018-2023)
  • F-8. Winners of The Open Championship, conducted by The R&A (2018-2022)
  • F-9. Winners of The Players Championship (2021-2023)
  • F-10. Winner of the 2022 European Tour BMW PGA Championship
  • *F-11. Those players who qualified and were eligible for the season-ending 2022 Tour Championship
  • F-12. Multiple winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the FedExCup, from the conclusion of the 2022 U.S. Open (June 16-19) to the initiation of the 2023 U.S. Open
  • *F-13. The top five players in the 2022-23 FedExCup standings as of May 22, 2023, who are not otherwise exempt
  • *F-14. The points leader from the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season using combined points earned on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List and points earned in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals
  • **F-15. The top two players from the final 2022 DP World Tour Rankings who are not otherwise exempt as of May 22, 2023
  • **F-16. The top player on the 2023 Race to Dubai Rankings as of May 22, 2023, who is not otherwise exempt
  • **F-17. The top two finishers from the 2023 DP World Tour U.S. Open Qualifying Series, who are not otherwise exempt
  • F-18. Winner of the 2022 Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A (must be an amateur)
  • F-19. Winner of the 2022 Mark H. McCormack Medal (Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking) (must be an amateur)
  • F-20. Winner of the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship (must be an amateur)
  • F-21. Winner of the 2023 Latin America Amateur Championship (must be an amateur)
  • F-22. From the current Official World Golf Ranking, the top 60 point leaders and ties as of May 22, 2023
  • F-23. From the current Official World Golf Ranking, the top 60 point leaders and ties as of June 12, 2023 (if not previously exempt)
  • F-24. Special exemptions selected by the USGA

*For Exemptions F-11, F-13 and F-14, players must be considered eligible per PGA Tour regulations at the time the exemption is determined to qualify for the exemption.

**For Exemptions F-15, F-16 and F-17, players must be in DP World Tour membership at the time the exemption is determined to qualify for the exemption.

Local Qualifying

For players who aren’t exempt, the first stage of qualifying is local qualifying. This stage is open to any professional or amateur golfer with a USGA Handicap Index of 1.4 or lower. Local qualifying is conducted at more than 100 sites across the United States, typically in May.

Players who advance from local qualifying move on to sectional qualifying.

Sectional Qualifying

Sectional qualifying is the final stage of qualifying and is open to players who successfully advance from local qualifying. The sectional qualifying is typically held about a week before the U.S. Open and takes place at several locations around the United States and internationally.

The 36-hole sectional qualifying takes place at several sites across the United States, while international sectional qualifying is held at a single location outside the United States.

The number of spots available at sectional qualifying varies from year to year, but typically around half of the U.S. Open field is filled by players who qualified through sectional qualifying.

In total, the U.S. Open field consists of approximately 156 players, with the exact number varying from year to year.

Who has won the US Open?

Many distinguished golfers have had the pleasure of lifting the U.S. Open Championship Trophy. The list reads like a who’s who of golf. Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus have each won the US Open a record four times, followed by Tiger Woods and Hale Irwin who have won it three times each. Below is also a list of previous winners and venues of the US Open.

YearCountryChampionCourseTotal scoreScore to Par
1895EnglandHorace RawlinsNewport Country Club173n/a
1896ScotlandJames FoulisShinnecock Hills152n/a
1897EnglandJoe LloydChicago Golf Club162n/a
1898ScotlandFred HerdMyopia Hunt Club328n/a
1899ScotlandWillie SmithBaltimore Country Club315n/a
1900JerseyHarry VardonChicago Golf Club313n/a
1901ScotlandWillie AndersonMyopia Hunt Club331n/a
1902ScotlandLaurie AuchterlonieGarden City Golf Club307n/a
1903ScotlandWillie AndersonBaltusrol Golf Club307n/a
1904ScotlandWillie AndersonGlen View Club303n/a
1905ScotlandWillie AndersonMyopia Hunt Club314n/a
1906ScotlandAlex SmithOnwentsia Club295n/a
1907ScotlandAlec RossPhiladelphia Cricket Club302n/a
1908ScotlandFred McLeodMyopia Hunt Club322n/a
1909EnglandGeorge SargentEnglewood Golf Club290+2
1910ScotlandAlex SmithPhiladelphia Cricket Club298+6
1911USJohn McDermottChicago Golf Club307+3
1912USJohn McDermottCountry Club of Buffalo294+6
1913USFrancis OuimetThe Country Club, Brookline304+12
1914USWalter HagenMidlothian Country Club290+2
1915USJerome TraversBaltusrol Golf Club297+1
1916USChick EvansThe Minikahda Club286−2
1917None
1918None
1919USWalter HagenBrae Burn Country Club301+17
1920JerseyTed RayInverness Club295+7
1921EnglandJim BarnesColumbia Country Club289+9
1922USGene SarazenSkokie Country Club288+8
1923USBobby JonesInwood Country Club296+8
1924EnglandCyril WalkerOakland Hills297+9
1925ScotlandWillie MacfarlaneWorcester Country Club291+7
1926USBobby JonesScioto Country Club293+5
1927USTommy ArmourOakmont Country Club301+13
1928USJohnny FarrellOlympia Fields294+10
1929USBobby JonesWinged Foot Golf Club294+6
1930USBobby JonesInterlachen Country Club287−1
1931USBilly BurkeInverness Club292+8
1932USGene SarazenFresh Meadow Country Club286+6
1933USJohnny GoodmanNorth Shore Country Club287−1
1934USOlin DutraMerion Golf Club293+13
1935USSam Parks, Jr.Oakmont Country Club299+11
1936USTony ManeroBaltusrol Golf Club282−6
1937USRalph GuldahlOakland Hills281−7
1938USRalph GuldahlCherry Hills284E
1939USByron NelsonPhiladelphia Country Club284+8
1940USLawson LittleCanterbury Golf Club287−1
1941USCraig WoodColonial Country Club284+4
1942None
1943None
1944None
1945None
1946USLloyd MangrumCanterbury Golf Club284−4
1947USLew WorshamSt. Louis Country Club282−2
1948USBen HoganRiviera Country Club276−8
1949USCary MiddlecoffMedinah Country Club286+2
1950USBen HoganMerion Golf Club287+7
1951USBen HoganOakland Hills287+7
1952USJulius BorosNorthwood Club281+1
1953USBen HoganOakmont Country Club283−5
1954USEd FurgolBaltusrol Golf Club284+4
1955USJack FleckOlympic Club287+7
1956USCary MiddlecoffOak Hill Country Club281+1
1957USDick MayerInverness Club282+5
1958USTommy BoltSouthern Hills283+3
1959USBilly CasperWinged Foot Golf Club282+2
1960USArnold PalmerCherry Hills280−4
1961USGene LittlerOakland Hills281+1
1962USJack NicklausOakmont Country Club283−1
1963USJulius BorosThe Country Club, Brookline293+9
1964USKen VenturiCongressional Country Club278−2
1965S AfricaGary PlayerBellerive Country Club282+2
1966USBilly CasperOlympic Club278−2
1967USJack NicklausBaltusrol Golf Club275−5
1968USLee TrevinoOak Hill Country Club275−5
1969USOrville MoodyChampions Golf Club281+1
1970EnglandTony JacklinHazeltine National Golf Club281−7
1971USLee TrevinoMerion Golf Club280E
1972USJack NicklausPebble Beach290+2
1973USJohnny MillerOakmont Country Club279−5
1974USHale IrwinWinged Foot Golf Club287+7
1975USLou GrahamMedinah Country Club287+3
1976USJerry PateAtlanta Athletic Club277−3
1977USHubert GreenSouthern Hills278−2
1978USAndy NorthCherry Hills285+1
1979USHale IrwinInverness Club284E
1980USJack NicklausBaltusrol Golf Club272−8
1981AustraliaDavid GrahamMerion Golf Club273−7
1982USTom WatsonPebble Beach282−6
1983USLarry NelsonOakmont Country Club280−4
1984USFuzzy ZoellerWinged Foot Golf Club276−4
1985USAndy NorthOakland Hills279−1
1986USRaymond FloydShinnecock Hills279−1
1987USScott SimpsonOlympic Club277−3
1988USCurtis StrangeThe Country Club, Brookline278−6
1989USCurtis StrangeOak Hill Country Club278−2
1990USHale IrwinMedinah Country Club280−8
1991USPayne StewartHazeltine National Golf Club282−6
1992USTom KitePebble Beach285−3
1993USLee JanzenBaltusrol Golf Club272−8
1994S AfricaErnie ElsOakmont Country Club279−5
1995USCorey PavinShinnecock Hills280E
1996USSteve JonesOakland Hills278−2
1997S AfricaErnie ElsCongressional Country Club276−4
1998USLee JanzenOlympic Club280E
1999USPayne StewartPinehurst Resort279−1
2000USTiger WoodsPebble Beach272−12
2001S AfricaRetief GoosenSouthern Hills276−4
2002USTiger WoodsBethpage Black277−3
2003USJim FurykOlympia Fields272−8
2004S AfricaRetief GoosenShinnecock Hills276−4
2005NZMichael CampbellPinehurst Resort280E
2006AustraliaGeoff OgilvyWinged Foot Golf Club285+5
2007ArgentinaÁngel CabreraOakmont Country Club285+5
2008USTiger WoodsTorrey Pines283−1
2009USLucas GloverBethpage Black276−4
2010N IrelandGraeme McDowellPebble Beach Golf Links284E
2011N IrelandRory McIlroyCongressional Country Club268−16
2012USWebb SimpsonOlympic Club281+1
2013EnglandJustin RoseMerion Golf Club281+1
2014GermanyMartin KaymerPinehurst Resort271−9
2015USJordan SpiethChambers Bay275−5
2016USDustin JohnsonOakmont Country Club276−4
2017USBrooks KoepkaErin Hills272−16
2018USBrooks KoepkaShinnecock Hills281+1
2019USGary WoodlandPebble Beach Golf Links271−13
2020USBryson DeChambeauWinged Foot Golf Club274−6
2021SpainJon RahmTorrey Pines278−6
2022EnglandMatt FitzpatrickThe Country Club, Brookline274−6
2023USWyndham ClarkThe Los Angeles Country Club270-10
2024Pinehurst Resort
2025Oakmont Country Club
2026Shinnecock Hills
2027Pebble Beach Golf Links
2028Winged Foot Golf Club
Matt Fitzpatrick holding aloft the US Open Golf Trophy after his 2022 win
Matt Fitzpatrick holding aloft the US Open Golf Trophy 2022 📸 Credit: Getty Images

Multiple US Open Winners

There are 22 golfers that have won the US Open more than once.

GolferTotalYears
ScotlandWillie Anderson41901, 1903, 1904, 1905
USBen Hogan41948, 1950, 1951, 1953
USBobby Jones (a)41923, 1926, 1929, 1930
USJack Nicklaus41962, 1967, 1972, 1980
USHale Irwin31974, 1979, 1990
USTiger Woods32000, 2002, 2008
USJulius Boros21952, 1963
USBilly Casper21959, 1966
S AfricaErnie Els21994, 1997
S AfricaRetief Goosen22001, 2004
USRalph Guldahl21937, 1938
USWalter Hagen21914, 1919
USLee Janzen21993, 1998
USBrooks Koepka22017, 2018
USJohn McDermott21911, 1912
USCary Middlecoff21949, 1956
USAndy North21978, 1985
USGene Sarazen21922, 1932
ScotlandAlex Smith21906, 1910
USPayne Stewart21991, 1999
USCurtis Strange21988, 1989
USLee Trevino21968, 1971
Four Time US Open Golf Champion Jack Nicklaus
Four Time US Open Golf Champion Jack Nicklaus

Where is the US Open Golf Championship held?

The US Open Golf Championship is held at a different venue each year. Above you can see where the US Open has been held previously and where it has been decided that it will be held in the future.

How many times has Tiger Woods Won the US Open Golf Championship?

Tiger Woods has won the US Open 3 times. In 2000, 2002 and 2008.

Where will the US Open Golf be held in 2023?

The 2023 US Open Golf will be held at The Los Angeles Country Club, California

Who has won the most US Open Golf Championships?

Four players have won the US Open a record four times. Willie Anderson, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus.

When was the first US Open Golf Championship held?

The first US Open Golf Championship was held in 1895 at Newport Golf and Country Club in Rhode Island.

Where will the US Open Golf be held in 2024?

The 2024 US Open will be held at the Pinehurst Resort (Course No. 2).

Where will the US Open Golf be held in 2025?

The 2025 US Golf Open will be held at Oakmont Country Club

Where will the US Open Golf be held in 2026?

In 2026 the US Open will be held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

Where will the US Open Golf be held in 2027?

The 2027 US Open will be held at Pebble Beach.

Where will the US Open Golf be held in 2028?

Winged Foot Golf Club will host the 2028 US Open Championship.

How many courses are used for the US Open Golf Championship?

Only one course is used each year to host the US Open Golf Championship. A different course is selected by the USGA each year, usually many years in advance to give the host time to plan the event.

How many rounds are played in the US Open Golf Championship?

The US Open is played over 4 rounds of 18 holes. A total of 72 holes are played in total. It usually takes place with one round on each day from Thursday to Sunday. After the first two rounds (Thursday and Friday), the field is cut to the top 60 players (plus ties) who advance to the final two rounds on the weekend (Saturday and Sunday). In the event of a tie for the lead after 72 holes, a sudden-death playoff is held to determine the winner.

What is the scoring system for the US Open Golf Championship?

The scoring system for the US Open Golf Championship is based on stroke play, which means that the player with the lowest total number of strokes over the four rounds is declared the winner. Each player’s score is calculated by adding up the number of strokes they take to complete each hole, with the player who takes the fewest strokes winning the hole.

In the event of a tie after 72 holes, a sudden-death playoff is held to determine the winner. The playoff consists of additional holes (usually starting on the 18th hole) until a winner is determined.

Last Updated on 19/06/2023 by Rob Davies

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