By John Strege
This year marks the 100th anniversary of amateur Francis Ouimet's stunning victory in the U.S. Open, a performance that helped propel golf into the American mainstream.
The United States Golf Association has chosen to commemorate the occasion with a book, "Great Moments of the U.S. Open," by Robert Williams and Michael Trostel, with a foreword by Jack Nicklaus. Williams is director of the USGA Museum in Far Hills, N.J., while Trostel is senior curator and historian of the museum.
"The 100th anniversary of Ouimet winning was probably the most significant moment in American golf history," Trostel said. "As a 20-year-old amateur he got golf on the front pages of newspapers for the first time. That was the jumping off point for golf in the U.S."
The book contains five chapters (Defining Moments, Perseverance, Underdogs, Comebacks and Dominance) featuring 27 stories and five essays. "The hardest part was picking which [Opens] we should write about," Trostel said. "We decided to organize it into five themes."
The essays include Mike Davis (USGA executive director) writing on U.S. Open courses, Rand Jerris (USGA senior managing director for public services) on the first U.S. Open, David Schefter (USGA senior staff writer) on runners-up, Lewine Mair (British golf writer) on how the game became a global one, and Rhonda Glenn (former USGA communications director) on Ouimet.
The photographs were culled from the USGA's collection of 700,000 of them. The cover shows Tiger Woods looking to the sky after holing a 12-foot putt for birdie on the 72nd hole of the 2008 Open at Torrey Pines to tie Rocco Mediate, whom he defeated in a playoff the following day.
"That is such a great photograph and a great moment," Trostel said. "The whole place was absolutely electric. What you see is raw emotion both from Tiger and the crowd. We didn't want to use just a single shot. We wanted to show golf's grand stage. In that photo there are volunteers, fans, players, the course, everything that makes the U.S. Open."