While the Masters gets all the glory, fanfare, and exposure in early April, true golf fans know that there is no stiffer test on the schedule than the U.S. Open every Father’s Day weekend in June. The year’s second major is also the sport’s second oldest major, behind only the Open Championship. Let’s look at some of the frequently asked questions surrounding golf’s national championship.
The U.S. Open is scheduled to be played every year on the second weekend of June, with the final round planned to be finished on Father’s Day. This year, it will be held from June 15-18.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) conducts the championship.
The first U.S. Open was played in 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Newport, R.I. At the time, it was a nine-hole course, so the championship was a 36-hole, one day competition. The winner was an Englishman named Horace Rawlins, a 21-year-old who beat a field of nine other professionals and one amateur. He won with 173 strokes and was awarded with $150, a gold medal, and custody of the U.S. Open Trophy for one year.
The U.S. Open is a four-round, 72-hole stroke-play championship, with a cut after 36 holes. There are 156 players in the field.
If players are tied after 72 holes of play, the winner is determined in an 18-hole stroke-play playoff on the Monday after the final round. If players are still tied after the playoff they will play sudden death until a winner is determined. It is the only one of professional golf’s four majors to employ the 18-hole playoff.
The 117th U.S. Open will be played at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis., northwest of Milwaukee. The course will play as a par 72 at 7,283 yards.
Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus hold the record four most U.S. Open victories, each winning four.
Dustin Johnson won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. He won with a total score of four-under 276, three strokes clear of the next closest competitor.
The U.S. Open is open to any professional or amateur with an up-to-date men’s USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4.
Qualifying consists of two stages, local and sectional. Local qualifying is played over 18 holes at more than 100 courses around the United States. A total of 525 spots are available to move on to the sectional qualifying round, known as “Golf’s Longest Day.” Sectional Qualifying is played over 36 holes in one day at several sites in the United States, as well as one each in Japan and Europe. Those who qualify after this stage earn a spot in the U.S. Open’s field of 156 players.
To apply you can go to https://champs.usga.org.
To see how a player can earn an exemption into the field, go to http://www.usopen.com/qualifying/exemptions.html
The USGA can also grant special exemptions into the field, which has only happened for 34 players 52 times since 1966. The last player to be given a special exemption was Retief Goosen in 2016.
There is not an age limit to qualify for the U.S. Open. The youngest player to ever make the field was 14-year-old Andy Zhang in 2012.
Oakmont Country Club has hosted the most U.S. Opens with nine, the most recent in 2016.
New York has hosted the most U.S. Opens with 18, including five at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
The U.S. Open scoring record is held by Rory McIlroy, who shot a total of 16-under 268 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., in 2011.
The highest winning score is held by Fred Herd, who won the 1898 U.S. Open with a total score of 328.
Four players hold the record for lowest round in U.S. Open history with a score of 63. They are: Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, and Vijay Singh. Miller’s is the lowest score-to-par at eight-under, and came in the final round in 1973 at Oakmont Country Club, leading him to victory.
The highest round belongs to J.D. Tucker, who shot a 157 at Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton, Mass. In 1898.
The oldest player to win the U.S. Open is Hale Irwin, who won the 1990 U.S. Open at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill., when he was 45 years and 15 days old.
The youngest champion is John McDermott, who won the 1911 U.S. Open at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill., when he was 19 years and 315 days old.
Five amateurs have won eight U.S. Opens in history: Francis Ouimet (1913), Jerome D. Travers (1915), Charles Evans Jr. (1916), Bobby Jones (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930), and John Goodman (1933).
Of the 116 U.S. Opens that have been contested, an American has won 81 of them.
Second to the United States in U.S. Open victories is Scotland with 14. Englishmen have won seven times, while South African born players have won five.
The U.S. Open is typically played under very difficult scoring conditions, where accuracy off the tee is essential. Fairways are often narrow and guarded by thick rough, and the course is generally set up quite long.
Future sites have been confirmed through the year 2026. They are as follows:
-Shinnecock Hills Golf Club - Shinnecock, Hills, N.Y. (2018 and 2026) -Pebble Beach Golf Links – Pebble Beach, Calif. (2019) -Winged Foot Golf Club – Mamaroneck, N.Y. (2020) -Torrey Pines Golf Course – La Jolla, Calif. (2021) -The Country Club – Brookline, Mass. (2022) -Los Angeles Country Club – Los Angeles (2023) -Pinehurst Resort, Course No. 2 – Pinehurst, N.C. (2024) -Oakmont Country Club – Oakmont, Pa. (2025)
For the 2017 U.S. Open the purse increased to $12 million, with the winner receiving $2.2 million.
The winner of the U.S. Open receives 100 world ranking points.
The winner of the U.S. Open receives 600 FedEx Cup points.
Since 2015, FOX Sports has been the official broadcaster of the U.S. Open. FOX’s deal with the USGA will run through 2026.