The United States Golf Association, or as we hear it often referred to as the USGA has been one of the governing bodies of professional golf for over a century. It’s cornerstone event, the US Open in its 121st year and has been hosted as some of the country’s most prestigious and acclaimed courses. It also has garnered some of golf’s best memories for fans and players, alike. While this post could quite possibly be made into a book, and in fact has Great Moments of the US Open by Robert Williams & Michael Trostel, I’ll just briefly highlight a few that stick out.
The first that comes to mind is the 1999 US Open hosted at Pinehurst in North Carolina where one of golf’s legends and most iconic figures of all time Payne Stewart. Many remember Payne’s “rain vest” that was made with a quick few snips in the pro shop that year. Payne was the 54-hole leader going into Sunday and had the lead until the 16th hole when Phil Mickelson took the lead, but ultimately couldn’t close out Stewart as they got into the last stretch of holes. Golf will forever remember the par saving putt on 18 where a statue of the that iconic pose remains at Pinehurst. Payne tragically lost his life in a plane crash later that fall.
The next US Open that sticks out is what many consider the greatest US Open of all time and also the greatest comeback in US Open history. We have to go all the way back to 1960 where the tournament was played at Cherry Hill, located just outside of Denver, CO. Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus & Arnold Palmer. Need we say more? Probably not, but we will anyway. Nicklaus and Hogan were three strokes off leader Mike Souchak and Palmer was as many put it “not in contention.” but Arnie came out firing brides in his first 6 of 7 holes to put himself in the mix. Jack was leading at the turn, but missed a 2 footer on 13, and three putted 14. Hogan dunked it in the water on both 17 and 18, making way for Arnie to putt in his tournament winning par.
Finally, in fitting fashion, this iconic performance by Tiger Woods took place in 2008 at none other than Torrey Pines where he battled it out with Rocco Mediate to capture the win. There’s plenty to remember about this tournament, including his must birdie on 18 to force a playoff and another must birdie in the first playoff hole, the iconic Tiger fist pumps, but what really is burned into memory for any is the fact that Tiger won this tournament with a fracture in his tibia and a ruptured ACL. Tiger has always been known to play through adversity, but this was a next level performance on golf’s biggest stage and he prevailed.
I hope come Sunday, we’ll have another memorable moment for the 2021 US Open. Enjoy the weekend!