ON THE RUN: Hale Irwin celebrates holing a monster putt which helped him win the US Open at Medinah in 1990.
ON THE RUN: Hale Irwin celebrates holing a monster putt which helped him win the US Open at Medinah in 1990. Stephen Munday

US Open golf’s greatest moments

THE US Open begins at the treacherous Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania tonight with Australian Jason Day one of the favourites.

Here, Australian Regional Media’s Phil Dillon looks at the top moments from previous tournaments.

Let us know your own greatest US Open memories below.

Rory McIlroy holds the trophy after winning the US Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
Rory McIlroy holds the trophy after winning the US Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. MIKE THEILER

11. RORY’S RUNAWAY WIN

NORTHERN Irishman Rory McIlroy had blown a huge final-round lead at the 2011 US Masters and this was his first major since his Augusta meltdown. McIlroy was able to handle the pressure this time around, taking the trophy by an amazing eight shots to win the first major tournament of his career.

Billy Casper won the 1966 US Open.
Billy Casper won the 1966 US Open. David Cannon

10. CASPER’S COMEBACK

NO ONE gave American Billy Casper a chance of overhauling Arnold Palmer at the 1966 US Open at the Olympic. Palmer, at the height of his powers, led by seven shots going into the final nine of the last round. But Palmer crumbled, allowing Casper to force an 18-hole playoff which he won by four shots.

Bobby Jones in action.
Bobby Jones in action.

9. JONES’ JAUNT

BOBBY Jones, the great amateur player of his day, only just scraped into a playoff with Californian Al Espinosa at the 1929 US Open at Winged Foot. But that was as close as Espinosa got to winning the trophy as Jones dominated the 36 extra holes. He went around in 72 and 69, while the Californian shot 84 and 80 to lose by 23 strokes.

Geoff Ogilvy of Australia holds the US Open Championship Trophy.
Geoff Ogilvy of Australia holds the US Open Championship Trophy. JUSTIN LANE

8. AUSSIE GLORY

IT WAS a case of if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again for Geoff Ogilvy, a distant relative of Robert the Bruce, at the 2006 tournament at Winged Foot. Ogilvy kept his nerve as Phil Mickelson, Colin Montgomerie and Jim Furyk all dropped shots at the last to hand the title to the Aussie by one shot.

Greg Norman lost a playoff at the 1984 US Open.
Greg Norman lost a playoff at the 1984 US Open. David Cannon

7. AUSSIE FAILURE

GREG Norman was known for his major tournament collapses and this was the catalyst for him to become only the second player since American Craig Woods in the 1930s to lose playoffs in all four majors. His first failure came at Winged Foot in 1984 after tying with Fuzzy Zoeller at the top of the leaderboard. Zoeller bossed the extra 18 holes, winning by eight shots over the broken Aussie.

Payne Stewart holds onto his wife, Tracey Ferguson, and the winner's trophy after winning the 1999 US Open.
Payne Stewart holds onto his wife, Tracey Ferguson, and the winner's trophy after winning the 1999 US Open. DOUG MILLS

6. STEWART’S SUCCESS

PAYNE Stewart was 42 when he won the US Open in 1999 at Pinehurst, North Carolina. It was his first win on the US PGA tour since 1991 and he became the sixth-oldest winner of the trophy, beating Phil Mickelson into second place. The win took on extra poignancy four months later when Stewart died in an air crash after his light aircraft depressurised.

Johnny Miller celebrates holing a putt during his final round 63.
Johnny Miller celebrates holing a putt during his final round 63. Anonymous

5. MILLER MAGIC

JOHNNY Miller was six shots off the lead going into the final round at Oakmont in 1973. He was given little chance of winning, particularly after he had forgotten his yardage book at the house he was renting while in town for the tournament. The American turned the tournament on its head with a final-round 63 – one of only five players to shoot under par on the last day, to win the title.

Tiger Woods holds up the winner’s trophy after capturing the 100th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Tiger Woods holds up the winner’s trophy after capturing the 100th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. MATT YORK

4. ROARING TIGER

TIGER Woods smashed the field in 2000 at Pebble Beach in the 100th US Open. Woods led all four rounds, eventually winning by 15 shots – a record for any major victory. Woods won with a 12-under score, with no other player finishing under par. This success was the first leg of the “Tiger Slam” as Woods went on to hold all four major trophies at the same time.

Hale Irwin celebrates with a lap of honour on the 18th hole during the 1990 US Open.
Hale Irwin celebrates with a lap of honour on the 18th hole during the 1990 US Open. Stephen Munday

3. ALL HAIL HALE

AMERICAN Hale Irwin had not long turned 45 when he became the oldest player to win a major at Medinah in 1990. His famous glasses were replaced by contact lenses as he took his third US Open in style. The enduring memory of Irwin’s win was when he sunk a 13-metre putt on the 18th. Previously seen as a player with little emotion, Irwin reacted to sinking the monster putt by high-fiving members of the gallery while running around the green. The putt took him into a playoff with fellow American Mike Donald. Irwin took the playoff at the 19th hole the following day.

Francis Ouimet.
Francis Ouimet.

2. AMATEUR WINNER

FRANCIS Ouimet had been a caddy at the Brookline Country Club before receiving an invitation to the 1913 US Open at the same course. The 20-year-old did not have time to organise a caddy, so ended up with 10-year-old Eddie Lowery on his bag. Amazingly, Ouimet was able to match the two best players of the era, Britons Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, and beat them both in the playoff. Ouimet’s feats were later the subject of a 2005 film starring Shia LaBeouf, called The Greatest Games Ever Played.

Ben Hogan fought back from life-threatening injuries to win the 1949 US Open.
Ben Hogan fought back from life-threatening injuries to win the 1949 US Open. Julian C. Wilson

1. HOGAN THE HERO

DOCTORS said Ben Hogan would never play golf again when his car collided with a bus in February 1949. The Texan was the best player of his generation but looked destined not to step foot on to a course again after receiving a fractured pelvis, broken collar bone, ruptured spleen, and blood clots in both legs following the accident. Remarkably, not only did Hogan pick up his clubs again, he turned up at Merion just 16 months following the accident to win the title in 1950. His legs were heavily bandaged and he was physically sick after each round and in constant pain, but he managed to make it into a playoff, which he won by four shots.



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