U.S. Open History
U.S. Open: Most Important Clubs
These are the golf clubs that have helped seal 10 significant U.S. Open wins.
June 04, 2012
Bobby Jones' putter, 1929, Winged Foot
Standing over a curving 12-foot par putt to tie Al Espinosa in the final round at Winged Foot GC's West Course, Bobby Jones was on the brink of an epic collapse. With a three-shot lead heading into the final round, Jones needed that putt to squeak his way into a playoff. Striking the ball with his "Calamity Jane" putter, Jones sent the ball on its way before it dove into the hole. He went on to win the playoff by a staggering 23 strokes and later said he believed that putt helped set him up for his Grand Slam run in 1930.
Ben Hogan's 1-iron, 1950, Merion
We've all seen Hy Peskin's memorable photo of Ben Hogan's follow-through on his 1-iron shot to Merion's 18th green at the 1950 U.S. Open -- and with good reason. *(Shown, a statue modeled after that famous shot.)*The shot helped Hogan to a must-have par that set up a playoff the following day against Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio. Hogan won, shooting 69 to Mangrum's 73 and Fazio's 75.
Jack Fleck's 7-iron, 1955, Olympic
Little did Jack Fleck know he would be battling the man whose named adorned his irons for the U.S. Open. But that's what happened in 1955 at Olympic Club. Needing a birdie on the final hole to tie Ben Hogan, Fleck pulled his Ben Hogan 7-iron from the bag and hit his approach to 8 feet, setting up the tieing birdie putt. Fleck won the playoff 69 to 72, denying Hogan a record fifth Open title.
Arnold Palmer's driver, 1960, Cherry Hills
After failing to drive the green each of the first three rounds (including a double bogey on his opening hole of the tournament), Arnold Palmer held fast to his "go for broke" style and hauled out his persimmon Ben Hogan driver and drove the green on the downhill, 346-yard hole opening hole at Cherry Hills CC. The tee shot led to a birdie and jump-started a final-round 65 that brought Palmer all the way back from a seven-shot deficit, beating Jack Nicklaus (an amateur at the time) by two shots. The shot was so significant Palmer's driver now hangs in display at Cherry Hills.(Note: This photo was taken a month after the U.S. Open, during the Open Championship.)
Jack Nicklaus' 1-iron, 1972, Pebble Beach
Battling the breeze at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Jack Nicklaus stood on the tee of the 71st hole with the outcome -- and choice of club -- in doubt. Eventually settling on his MacGregor custom-made 1-iron, the Golden Bear zipped the ball at the green where it took one hop, hit the stick and settled inches from the hole. The birdie 2 on the par 3 helped sew up a three-shot win.
Jerry Pate's 5-iron, 1975, Atlanta Athletic Club
Although a bogey 5 would have won the tournament, Jerry Pate opted to eschew the layup and hit a Wilson Staff 5-iron out of the rough and over the water on the final hole at Atlanta Athletic Club. The shot ended up three feet from the hole, and the ensuing birdie gave Pate -- a tour rookie -- a two-shot win.(Note: This image was taken a few months before the U.S. Open, during the Masters.)
Tom Watson's wedge, 1982, Pebble Beach
After his tee shot on the par-3 17th at Pebble Beach Golf Links found the left rough, bogey looked probable, par unlikely, birdie impossible. To everyone but Tom Watson. After his caddie, Bruce Edwards, told him to "get it close," Watson replied, "Hell, I'm gonna hole it." Wielding a Ram Tour Grind wedge, Watson made good on his word, sinking the chip and going on to win his first -- and only -- U.S. Open title.
Tom Kite's wedge, 1992, Pebble Beach
Three shots back entering final-round play at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Tom Kite's memorable moment came early in the round. Having recovered from a double bogey on the fourth with a birdie at the par-5 sixth, Kite's tee shot on the 107-yard seventh in gusty winds went way left and found a difficult lie. Using a 60-degree Hogan K-Grind wedge, Kite pitched the ball and watched as it slammed hard into the pin and dropped for a birdie 2. Playing steady golf the rest of the way as others faltered, Kite captured his only major title.
Payne Stewart's putter, 1999, Pinehurst
Payne Stewart's closing stretch of three consecutive one-putt greens to end the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst ranks among the best finishes in major championship history. Stewart's memorable 20-footer for par at the last to edge Phil Mickelson was made with a SeeMore PGP putter, resulting in the small company receiving more than 50,000 calls for the club in the days after the Open.
Tiger Woods' putter, 2008, Torrey Pines
Trailing Rocco Mediate by one, Woods needed birdie on the final hole at Torrey Pines Golf Clubs's South Course to force a playoff. After laying up with his second on the par 5, Woods hit his approach to 15 feet. Wielding his Scotty Cameron by Titleist Tiger -- a Newport-style putter -- Woods knocked the putt in setting off a raucous celebration. Woods won the playoff the next day in 19 holes.