Editors' BlogJune 14, 2007

Covering past Oakmont Opens

In recognition of Golf World's 60th anniversary, golfdigest.com has collected all 60 of the magazine’s U.S. Open covers and made a slideshow. You can see the 1947-1977 U.S. Open covers and the 1978-2006 covers in their Golf Digest Photo Gallerys.

As you flip through each year, you will notice that over time the cover price has gone from fifteen cents to $2.95. The picture quality has too! Pay close attention to the Opens that were played at Oakmont. By now, mention of Johnny Miller's win in 1973 and Ernie Els raising the trophy in ’94 have been repeated and repeated, but you may not have heard about Ben Hogan’s win here in 1953 or Nicklaus beating Arnold Palmer in a playoff in ’62 or Larry Nelson taking the title in ’83.

In ’53 Hogan was lucky just to have been in the field, let alone win. He came back with a 73, after shooting 77 in the opening round of qualifying. Hogan and Sam Snead, who finished one-two, were the only players in the field to break 70 in any round, and each only did it once during the tournament.

Nicklaus’ victory in ’62 came after his 71 in the 18-hole playoff which was three shots better than his rival, Palmer. Despite playing a course he had first tackled at age twelve, the King had eleven three-putts over the four regulation rounds, while Nicklaus only had one over all five. Take a look at Gerry Dulac’s fine piece in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for an in-depth account of this tournament.

Nelson came to Oakmont without his golf clubs after they were lost on his flight to Pittsburgh. Rather than spend time at the driving range, or even play full 18-hole practice rounds, he spent his practice time putting. The work paid off and he defeated defending champion Tom Watson by a single stroke, making up a six-shot deficit in two days.

--Jeff Patterson

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