1976 U.S. Open Golf Tournament Results

The 1976 U.S. Open was the 76th time the tournament was played. A 22-year-old won it, a golfer who appeared to be at the beginning of a long career filled with victories. But it wasn't to be.

Winner: Jerry Pate, 277

Where it was played: Atlanta Athletic Club in Duluth, Georgia

Tournament dates: June 17-20, 1976

Leader after first round: Mike Reid, 67

Leader after second round: John Mahaffey, 138

Leader after third round: John Mahaffey, 207

What Happened at the 1976 U.S. Open

Jerry Pate's first win as a pro was a big one: this U.S. Open. He earned it by coming from two strokes off the lead entering the final round. John Mahaffey was the second- and third-round leader, but Mahaffey shot 73 in the final round while Pate carded a 68 to surge to the title.

Mahaffey had scored 69 in the third round to forge that two-stroke lead over Pate, with Al Geiberger three behind and Tom Weiskopf four back entering the final round. The tournament came down to that quartet of players, each of them playing well — at least until the final hole.

When Pate and Mahaffey reached the 72nd hole, they were the last golfers on the course, and Pate led Mahaffey, Geiberger (who shot 69) and Weiskopf (who carded 68) by one stroke each.

The par-4 final hole at Atlanta Athletic Club required a carry over a lake that fronted the green. Mahaffey hit his approach into that lake, ending his hopes. But Pate, playing from the rough, hit a 5-iron to two feet from cup. Pate sank the birdie putt to win the championship by two strokes over Geiberger and Weiskopf. Mahaffey, who lost the U.S. Open in a playoff one year earlier, finished tied for fourth.

Pate won the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1974, was low amateur at the 1975 U.S. Open, and then won the 1976 U.S. Open — a steep career path. The first win of his pro career was this one, and the last of his eight PGA Tour victories was at the 1982 Players Championship (the first one played at TPC Sawgrass). You could say that Pate didn't live up to his early promise, but he did win a major, plus The Players, and his shortfall, if you want to call it that, was due to injuries. Pate had recurrent shoulder injuries that limited his winning ways to that seven-year time span.

Pate also had two runner-up finishes at later majors, the 1978 PGA Championship and the 1979 U.S. Open. This tournament was where Fuzzy Zoeller, a future Masters and U.S. Open winner, made his major championship debut. He finished tied for 38th.

One change of note in U.S. Open policy at the 1976 tournament: Golfers were allowed to use their own caddies. Previously, the host club had provided a pool of caddies, and caddies were assigned to golfers by lot.

1976 U.S. Open Scores

Jerry Pate 71-69-69-68—277
Al Geiberger 70-69-71-69—279
Tom Weiskopf 73-70-68-68—279
Butch Baird 71-71-71-67—280
John Mahaffey 70-68-69-73—280
Hubert Green 72-70-71-69—282
Tom Watson 74-72-68-70—284
Lyn Lott 71-71-70-73—285
Ben Crenshaw 72-68-72-73—285
Johnny Miller 74-72-69-71—286
Rod Funseth 70-70-72-75—287
Jack Nicklaus 74-70-75-68—287
Raymond Floyd 70-75-71-72—288
Andy North 74-72-69-74—289
Mark Hayes 74-74-70-71—289
Don January 71-74-69-75—289
J.C. Snead 73-69-71-76—289
Mike Morley 71-71-70-77—289
Danny Edwards 73-75-70-72—290
Randy Glover 72-74-76-68—290
Dave Eichelberger 73-70-74-74—291
Larry Nelson 75-74-70-72—291
Joe Inman 75-73-74-70—292
Calvin Peete 76-69-74-73—292
Gary Player 72-77-73-70—292
Tom Jenkins 72-74-75-72—293
Hale Irwin 75-72-75-71—293
Wayne Levi 74-73-74-73—294
Bob E. Smith 72-75-74-73—294
Lou Graham 75-74-72-73—294
Barry Jaeckel 74-77-69-74—294
Grier Jones 76-69-71-78—294
Terry Diehl 71-72-76-76—295
Rik Massengale 70-78-70-77—295
Victor Regalado 75-76-71-74—296
Bobby Wadkins 76-72-72-76—296
Lee Elder 72-75-78-71—296
Charles Coody 75-76-70-76—297
Fuzzy Zoeller 72-75-73-77—297
John Gentile 77-74-73-73—297
Lon Hinkle 75-74-70-78—297
Miller Barber 76-72-79-70—297
Mike Shea 72-73-72-80—297
Kermit Zarley 75-73-75-75—298
Tom Purtzer 73-75-73-77—298
Tim Collins 73-76-72-77—298
Tommy Aaron 75-73-76-75—299
Bruce Lietzke 76-73-77-73—299
Eddie Pearce 80-71-76-72—299
Arnold Palmer 75-75-75-75—300
Carlton White 75-75-75-75—300
Gene Littler 76-75-71-78—300
a-John Fought 79-72-72-77—300
a-Mike Reid 67-81-80-72—300
Joey Dills 77-73-74-77—301
Jim Colbert 74-76-73-78—301
Peter Oosterhuis 73-75-74-79—301
Bob Gilder 75-74-75-78—302
John Jacobs 75-75-74-78—302
George Cadle 79-71-77-76—303
Bruce Devlin 75-73-81-74—303
a-Martin West 73-73-80-79—305
a-Bruce Douglass 73-76-75-81—305
Bobby Stroble 77-70-82-76—305
Gene Borek 74-74-76-83—307
Jim Ferree 76-73-80-82—311

Previous and next:
1975 U.S. Open1977 U.S. Open

Popular posts from this blog