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Article: US Championship

The United States Open Championship is the annual open golf tournament of the United States. It is staged by the United States Golf Association in mid-June, scheduled such that the final round is always played on the third Sunday, which is Father's Day. It is one of the four major championships in golf and is on the official schedule of both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. The U.S. Open is staged at a variety of courses, set up in such a way that scoring is very difficult with a premium placed on accurate driving. Normally, an Open course is longer than normal and will have a high cut of rough (termed "Open rough" by the American press and fans), hilly greens (such as at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005, which was described by Johnny Miller of NBC as "like trying to hit a ball on top of a VW Beetle"), and pinched fairways. Some courses that are attempting to get into the rotation for the U.S. Open will normally be rebuilt to have these features. Rees Jones is the most notable of the "Open Doctors" who take on these projects.

The first U.S. Open Championship was played on October 4, 1895, on a nine-hole course in Newport, Rhode Island. It was a 36-hole competition and was played in a single day. Ten professionals and one amateur entered. The winner was a 21-year-old Englishman named Horace Rawlins, who had arrived in the U.S. in January that year to take up a position at the host club. He received $150 cash out of a prize fund of $335, plus a $50 gold medal; his club received the Open Championship Cup trophy, which was presented by the USGA.

In the beginning, the tournament was dominated by experienced British players until 1911, when John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner. American golfers soon began to win regularly and the tournament evolved to become one of the four majors.

Throughout the modern history of the competition, the title has been won almost exclusively by players from the United States. Since 1950, players from only four nations other than the United States have won the championship, most notably South Africa, which has won five times since 1965.

A streak of four consecutive non-American winners occurred from 2004 to 2007 for the first time since 1910. These four players—South African Retief Goosen (2004), New Zealander Michael Campbell (2005), Australian Geoff Ogilvy (2006) and Argentinian Angel Cabrera (2007) —are all from countries in the Southern Hemisphere. No player from Europe has won since Tony Jacklin of England in 1970.

Qualification and prizes
The U.S. Open is open to any professional, or to any amateur with an up-to-date USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4. Players (male or female) may obtain a place by being fully exempt or by competing successfully in qualifying. The field is 156 players.

About half of the field is made up of players who are fully exempt from qualifying. There are seventeen full exemption categories, including winners of the U.S. Open for the last ten years and the other three majors for the last five years, the top 30 from the previous year's PGA Tour money list, the top 15 from the previous year's European Tour money list, and the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings as of two weeks before the tournament.

Potential competitors who are not fully exempt must enter the Qualifying process, which has two stages. Firstly there is Local Qualifying, which is played over 18 holes at over 100 courses around the United States. Many leading players are exempt from this first stage, and they join the successful local qualifiers at the Sectional Qualifying stage, which is played over 36 holes in one day at several sites in the U.S. and one each in Europe and Japan.

There is no lower age limit and the youngest ever qualifier was 15-year-old Tadd Fujikawa of Hawaii, who qualified in 2006.

The purse at the 2007 U.S. Open was $7 million, and the winner's share was $1.26 million. In line with the other majors, winning the U.S. Open gives a golfer several privileges that make his career much more secure, if he is not already one of the elite of the sport. U.S. Open champions are automatically invited to play in the other three majors (The Masters, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship) for the next five years, as well as the near-major Players Championship, and they are exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Open itself for ten years. They may also receive a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, which is automatic for regular members. Non-PGA Tour members who win the U.S. Open have the choice of joining the PGA Tour either within 60 days of winning, or prior to the beginning of any one of the next five tour seasons.

The top fifteen finishers at the U.S. Open are fully exempt from qualifying for the following year's Open, and the top eight are automatically invited to the following season's Masters.

PO - Won in Playoff
Am = Amateur

Playoff losers:

^ Mark Brooks
^ Loren Roberts and Colin Montgomerie
^ Scott Simpson
^ Mike Donald
^ Nick Faldo
^ Greg Norman
^ John Mahaffey
^ Jack Nicklaus
^ Arnold Palmer
^ Kel Nagle
^ Jacky Cupit and Arnold Palmer
^ Arnold Palmer
^ Cary Middlecoff
^ Ben Hogan
^ Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio
^ Sam Snead
^ Vic Ghezzi and Byron Nelson
^ Gene Sarazen
^ Craig Wood and Denny Shute
^ George Von Elm
^ Al Espinosa
^ Bobby Jones
^ Harry Cooper
^ Bobby Jones
^ Bobby Cruickshank
^ Mike Brady
^ Harry Vardon and Ted Ray
^ Mike Brady and Geord Simpson
^ John McDermott and Macdonald Smith
^ Willie Smith
^ David Brown
^ Alex Smith
^ Many early U.S. Opens were won by English and Scottish golfers who learned the game in their own country and moved to America as adults to take up positions as club professionals. Their original countries are shown unless they are known to have become U.S. citizens before their victories, as is the case with English born and raised Jim Barnes and Scottish born and raised Tommy Armour. Harry Vardon and Ted Ray made only short term visits to the U.S. to play tournament golf.

[edit] Multiple winners
The following golfers have won the U.S. Open more than once through 2006.

4 wins:

Willie Anderson: 1901, 1903, 1904, 1905
Bobby Jones: 1923, 1926, 1929, 1930
Ben Hogan: 1948, 1950, 1951, 1953
Jack Nicklaus: 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980
3 wins:

Hale Irwin: 1974, 1979, 1990
2 wins:

Alex Smith: 1906, 1910
John J. McDermott: 1911, 1912
Walter Hagen: 1914, 1919
Gene Sarazen: 1922, 1932
Ralph Guldahl: 1937, 1938
Cary Middlecoff: 1949, 1956
Julius Boros: 1952, 1963
Billy Casper: 1959, 1966
Lee Trevino: 1968, 1971
Andy North: 1978, 1985
Curtis Strange: 1988, 1989
Ernie Els: 1994, 1997
Lee Janzen: 1993, 1998
Payne Stewart: 1991, 1999
Tiger Woods: 2000, 2002
Retief Goosen: 2001, 2004

[edit] Records
Oldest champion: Hale Irwin in 1990 at 45 years, 15 days.
Youngest champion: John McDermott in 1911 at 19 years, 315 days.
Oldest player to make the cut: Sam Snead in 1973 at 61 years old. He tied for 29th place.
Most consecutive victories: 3 by Willie Anderson 1903-1905.
Most consecutive opens started: 44 by Jack Nicklaus from 1957 to 2000.
Largest margin of victory: 15 strokes by Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2000. This is the all-time record for all majors.
Lowest score for 72 holes:

272: Jack Nicklaus (63-71-70-68) at Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower Course) in 1980.
272: Lee Janzen (67-67-69-69) at Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower Course) in 1993.
272: Tiger Woods (65-69-71-67) at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2000.
272: Jim Furyk (67-66-67-72) at Olympia Fields Country Club (North Course) in 2003.
Most strokes under par for 72 holes: 12 under (272) by Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2000.
Most frequent venues:

8 Opens: Oakmont Country Club: 1927, 1935, 1953, 1962, 1973, 1983, 1994, and 2007.
7 Opens: Baltusrol Golf Club; 1903, 1915, 1936, 1954, 1967, 1980 and 1993.

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