US Golf Open: Australians

In the history of the US Open only 2 Australians have won the coveted title. David Graham in 1981 and more recently Geoff Ogilvy in 2006.

The forerunner of the US Open took place in 1894 when Willie Dunn won a matchplay event. However the first championship carrying the US Open name was held at Newport, Rhode Island on October 4th 1895. It was scheduled for the previous month but that clashed with the America's Cup which was taking place at Rhode Island at the same time.

The first Open was over 4 rounds of Newport's 9 hole course and the winner from a field of ten professionals and one amateur was English born Horace Rawlins, who took the first prize of $150 with a 36 hole total of 173.

The first 16 Opens were all won by the more experienced British born golfers, and when Harry Vardon made the journey across the Atlantic to take the title in 1900 he did a great deal to popularize the game in America.

In 1911, a home bred player captured the title for the first time when Johnny McDermott won a 3-way playoff.

McDermott retained his title in 1912 and the following year, vicyory by an unknown amateur changed the course of golfing history in the United States.

20 year old Francis Ouimet lived across the road from the Brookline Country Club, venue for the 1913 Open. He entered the competition without realistically to have any impact on the big names of the world of professional golf, including Britain's top golfers Vardon and Ted Ray. But what a memorable occasion it was as Ouimet shared the lead after 72 holes and then went on to beat the Britons by 5 and 6 strokes respectively in the playoff. The British domination of world golf was over and that is how it stayed for 70 years, give or take the odd hiccup.

Ted Ray took the title back to Britain in 1920, but that was it until Tony Jacklin's success in 1970. Since then no Briton has captured the US title. And it would be another 11 years before a non American won again and that was Australia's David Graham in 1981.

Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus, three of the biggest names in world golf, have all won the Open four times. Hogan's 1950 success, less than two years after a near fatal car accident, was one of the most emotional in the tournaments history. To date, Tiger Woods has 3 titles and realistically it is only a matter of time before he joins the greats of the game with a fourth.

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