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"Trial of the Century" ends with Simpson's acquittal

1995


Corey Pavin

In the 100 years the U.S. Open has been played as our national championship, the final few holes have witnessed some profound heroics. Take, for example, Francis Ouimet birdying the 17th hole of The Country Club in 1913 to seal his playoff victory over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. Or how about Bob Jones holing a 40-foot putt on the 72nd green at Interlachen in 1930 to win his fourth Open? More recently, reflect back to Pebble Beach in 1982 when Tom Watson lobbed a little pitch into the hole of the 71st green to nose out Jack Nicklaus.

These were all remarkable shots worthy of their place in golf's lore. But as a celebration of the Open's Centennial, the 4-wood played by Corey Pavin into the final green at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on the eastern tip of Long Island stands among the decisive shots ever struck on the final hole of the game's ultimate test.

Pavin completed his final round of 68 for a 72-hole total of 280. This mark represented even par, besting Greg Norman by two strokes and Tom Lehman by three. Pavin became the fourth consecutive winner to make the Open his first major championship, following Tom Kite at Pebble Beach, Lee Janzen at Baltusrol, and Ernie Els at Oakmont.

This Open represented the third one held at Shinnecock Hills. Players, officials, and spectators alike praised the venue as worthy site for the Centennial Open. Perhaps its worthiness is best demonstrated by its difficulty as evidence by the cut coming at 6-over-par 146. Seventy-three professionals qualified to play all four rounds. No amateur made the cut.

OPEN RECORDS


Starts - 24

Best Finish - Winner 1995

Rds - 70

Cuts Made - 12

Top 3 - 1

Top 5 - 1

Top 10 - 3

Top 25 - 8

Avg. - 73.37

Scores In 60s - 8

Rds Under Par - 11

Earnings - $759,104.50
Current Leaders
PosPlayerTodayThruTotal
1W. Simpson-2F+1
T2M. Thompson-3F+2
T2G. McDowell+3F+2
T4D. Toms-2F+3
T4P. Harrington-2F+3
T4J. PetersonEF+3
T4J. DufnerEF+3
T4J. Furyk+4F+3
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Historical Notes
On Oct. 4, 1895, the first U.S. Open Championship was conducted by the United States Golf Association on the nine-hole course of Newport (R.I.) Golf and Country Club.
The first U.S. Open was considered something of a sideshow to the first U.S. Amateur, which was played on the same course and during the same week. Both championships had been scheduled for September but were postponed because of a conflict with a more established Newport sports spectacle, the America's Cup yacht races.
Ten professionals and one amateur started in the 36-hole competition, which was four trips around the Newport course in one day. The surprise winner was Horace Rawlins, 21, an English professional who was the assistant at the host course. Rawlins scored 91-82-173 with the gutta-percha ball.
Prize money totalled $335, of which Rawlins won the $150 first prize. He also received a gold medal and custody of the Open Championship Cup for his club for one year.
In its first decade, the U.S. Open was conducted for amateurs and the largely British wave of immigrant golf professionals coming to the United States.
As American players began to dominate the game, the U.S. Open evolved into an important world golf championship. Young John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner in 1911 and repeated as champion in 1912.
In 1913, the U.S. Open really took off when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, stunned the golf world by defeating famous English professionals, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, in a playoff.
Another surge in the championship's popularity coincided with the amazing career of Georgia amateur Bob Jones, who won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930). Spectator tickets were sold for the first time in 1922 and a boom in entries caused the USGA to introduce sectional qualifying in 1924.
In 1933, John Goodman became the fifth and last amateur to win the U.S. Open. The others were Ouimet, Jerome D. Travers (1915), Charles Evans Jr., (1916), and Jones.
In each era, the world's greatest players have been identified by surviving the rigorous examination provided by the U.S. Open. Ben Hogan's steely determination boosted him to four victories (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953). Arnold Palmer's record comeback win in 1960, when he fired a final round of 65 to come from seven strokes off the lead, cemented his dashing image. Jack Nicklaus' historic assault on the professional record book began when he won the first of his four U.S. Open Championships in 1962, his rookie season as a professional.
Nicklaus, who also won in 1967, 1972, and 1980, is one of only four golfers to win four U.S. Opens. The others are Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), Jones and Hogan.
In 1954, the U.S. Open course was roped from tee to green for the first time. That year also marked the first national television coverage. Coverage was expanded by ABC Sports in 1977 so that all 18 holes of the final two rounds were broadcast live. In 1982, on the ESPN cable network, the first two rounds were broadcast live for the first time. NBC began televising the U.S. Open in 1995.
The format of the U.S. Open has changed several times. The USGA extended the championship to 72 holes in 1898, with 36 holes played on each of two days. In 1926, the format was changed to 18 holes played each of two days, then 36 holes on the third day. In 1965, the present format of four 18-hole daily rounds was implemented for the first time.
In 2002, a two-tee (Nos. 1 and 10) start was used for the first and second rounds. In addition, Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., was the first facility owned by the public to host a U.S. Open. International qualifying sites were added in 2005 and the champion at Pinehurst Resort in N.C. was Michael Campbell, who qualified in England.