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The Greatest U.S. Open Golf Champions of All Time

Who are the greatest U.S. Open golf champions of all time? A number of greats have competed for the U.S. Open title; here's our list of the best of the best.
Published on June 19, 2023

The Greatest U.S. Open Golf Champions of All Time Ben Hogan
Ben Hogan 1950

Who are the greatest U.S. Open golf champions of all time? There have been a number of great golfers to compete for U.S. Open titles. Here’s our list of the best of the best.

Greatest U.S. Open Golf Champions

  • Willie Anderson (1901, 1903-05): Anderson is often overlooked when the discussion turn to the great golfers. However, he was the first four-time Open winner, as well as the only player to notch three consecutive titles.
  • Ben Hogan (1948,1950-51,1953): Hogan won four U.S. Open championships, three of which came after a near-fatal car accident in 1949. In fact, some golf historians feel that his victory at the Hale America Open in 1942 should be counted as his fifth U.S. Open, since the tournament was to be a substitute for the Open after its cancellation by the USGA.
  • Bobby Jones (1923, 1926, 1929-30): A practicing lawyer in Atlanta, Jones never became a professional golfer and rarely played in championship competition after his final Grand Slam victory, the U.S. Amateur tournament in 1930.
  • Jack Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980): Widely considered by fans to be the greatest golfer of all time, the Golden Bear captured four U.S. Open titles. In 2000, Nicklaus played in his 44th and final U.S. Open.
  • Hale Irwin (1974, 1979, 1990): Irwin won three U.S. Open championships; however, he may be best known for his first U.S. Open win, “The Massacre at Winged Foot.” Irwin won with a score of 7-over par, the second-highest winning score in relation to par of any U.S. Open since 1945.

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  • Tiger Woods (2000, 2002, 2008): With three U.S. Open wins in the first 12 years of his career, many felt Woods would eventually become the undisputed greatest U.S. Open champion in history. However, in the 15 years since his last win, Woods’ highest finish was fourth in 2010.
  • Ernie Els (1994, 1997): In spite of starting the 1994 U.S. Open playoff bogey-triple bogey, Els was able to match Loren Roberts’ score of 74. Consequently, Els birdied the second hole of sudden death to win his first U.S. Open title.
  • Brooks Koepka (2017-18): When Koepka won his U.S. Open title at Erin Hills, Wisconsin. Actually, his win tied him for the record of the lowest U.S. Open score at 16 under (tied with Rory McIlroy’s 2011 record).
  • Curtis Strange (1988-89): Since World War II, only three golfers have successfully defended their titles at the U.S. Open. In addition to Strange, the other two were Ben Hogan (1951) and Brooks Koepka (2018).
  • Payne Stewart (1991, 1999): Stewart won two U.S. Open championships, and his victories were both thrilling and unexpected. To illustrate, his 1991 win came after a playoff against Scott Simpson, while his ’99 victory came after holing a 15-foot par putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory.

Wrapping Up

This is our list of the greatest U.S. Open golf champions of all time. Do you agree with our selections? Drop a note in the comments and let us know!

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