1974 U.S. Open Winner and Scores

The 1974 U.S. Open was the 74th time the tournament was played. And this one is remembered less as the site of Hale Irwin's first major championship victory than for the difficulty of the Winged Foot setup — difficulty that earned the tournament the nickname "The Massacre at Winged Foot."

Winner: Hale Irwin, 287

Where it was played: Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York

Tournament dates: June 13-16, 1974

Leader after first round: Gary Player, 70

Leader after second round: Gary Player, Hale Irwin, Arnold Palmer and Raymond Floyd, 143

Leader after third round: Tom Watson, 213

What Happened at the 1974 U.S. Open

The so-called "Massacre at Winged Foot" happened this year with a winning score of 7-over par. Did the USGA set up Winged Foot with extremely thick rough and lightning-fast greens because one year earlier Johnny Miller scorched the final round of the 1973 U.S. Open with a 63? Many of the golfers in this tournament thought so: It was the USGA making sure nobody would do that again.

The winner — the survivor — was Hale Irwin. Irwin carded a 73 in Round 4 that was good enough because Tom Watson, the third-round leader, collapsed with a 79. This was the first of three U.S. Open wins for Irwin, who established here his reputation for playing well on the toughest courses.

The story on Day 1 was just how tough the golf course was, something driven home when Jack Nicklaus putted off the first green — news of which rippled across the golf course and through the locker room like news of a lurking bogeyman.

Nobody broke par in the first round, one of a dozen or so times in the U.S. Open's post-World War II history there were no sub-par scores for a round. Gary Player was the only golfer to match par, and that 70 gave him a one-stroke lead. Only 23 of the 150 golfers in the field scored better than 75; 44 of those golfers shot 80 or higher.

On Day 2, one golfer, Hubert Green, went as low as 67, and 38 golfers did better than 75. So the scoring did improve a bit. The very impressive quartet of Player, Arnold Palmer, Raymond Floyd and Irwin (who, at that time, had only two wins on the PGA Tour) shared the second-round lead.

Player had a good front nine on the third day, but skied to a 41 on the back nine and fell out of contention. But Palmer stayed in it with a 73, ranking third after Round 3.

The new leader at that point was Tom Watson, who had not yet won a tour event. Watson shot 69 in the third round to lead second-place Irwin (71) by one stroke going into the final round.

Palmer fell away early in the final round, starting with a three-putt from 12 feet on the second hole. Watson needed long par-savers early in the round to hang on, but Irwin tied him on the fifth hole. On the ninth hole, Irwin sank a 35-foot birdie to take the lead, and never gave it up.

Watson started the back nine one behind Irwin, but fell apart over the final nine holes. He finished with a 79 and fell to fifth place. (But Watson got his first PGA Tour win a couple weeks later.)

Irwin bogeyed four of the first seven holes on the back nine, but stabilized enough to finish with two pars. He finished at 2-over 287, two strokes ahead of runner-up Forrest Fezler. Palmer finished tied for fifth, Player tied for eighth, and Jack Nicklaus shot a 69 in the final round to move up to 10th.

Irwin went on to win the 1979 U.S. Open and 1990 U.S. Open, too. This was the final major championship played by 1964 U.S. Open winner Ken Venturi, who missed the cut.

1974 U.S. Open Scores

Hale Irwin 73-70-71-73—287
Forrest Fezler 75-70-74-70—289
Lou Graham 71-75-74-70—290
Bert Yancey 76-69-73-72—290
Arnold Palmer 73-70-73-76—292
Jim Colbert 72-77-69-74—292
Tom Watson 73-71-69-79—292
Gary Player 70-73-77-73—293
Tom Kite 74-70-77-72—293
Jack Nicklaus 75-74-76-69—294
Bud Allin 76-71-74-73—294
John Mahaffey 74-73-75-73—295
Frank Beard 77-69-72-77—295
Larry Ziegler 78-68-78-71—295
Mike Reasor 71-76-76-73—296
Tom Weiskopf 76-73-72-75—296
Raymond Floyd 72-71-78-75—296
David Graham 73-75-76-73—297
Dale Douglass 77-72-72-76—297
Al Geiberger 75-76-78-68—297
Leonard Thompson 75-75-76-72—298
J.C. Snead 76-71-76-75—298
Larry Hinson 75-76-75-73—299
Bruce Crampton 72-77-76-74—299
Bobby Mitchell 77-73-73-76—299
Lanny Wadkins 75-73-76-76—300
Chi Chi Rodriguez 75-75-77-73—300
Jim Jamieson 77-73-75-75—300
Hubert Green 81-67-76-76—300
David Glenz 76-74-75-76—301
Rod Funseth 73-75-78-75—301
Jerry McGee 77-72-78-74—301
Ron Cerrudo 78-75-75-73—301
Rik Massengale 79-72-74-76—301
Don Iverson 74-77-76-75—302
Johnny Miller 76-75-74-77—302
Bob E. Smith 77-74-73-78—302
Steve Melnyk 74-79-73-76—302
John Buczek 73-73-83-73—302
Mark Hayes 73-77-76-77—303
Dave Eichelberger 76-77-76-74—303
Kermit Zarley 74-73-78-78—303
Homero Blancas 77-71-79-76—303
Dave Stockton 79-74-78-72—303
Bob Stone 75-74-77-78—304
Tom Ulozas 77-75-74-78—304
Jerry Heard 73-77-75-79—304
Jim Dent 76-73-79-76—304
Lynn Janson 77-74-77-77—305
Bobby Nichols 72-77-80-76—305
George Knudson 78-75-75-78—306
Jim Masserio 75-75-76-80—306
Mike McCullough 76-76-74-80—306
Alan Tapie 77-74-77-79—307
Bob Zender 77-73-79-78—307
a-Jay Haas 78-73-79-77—307
Barney Thompson 72-77-80-78—307
Jack Rule 78-75-73-81—307
Eddie Pearce 75-71-84-78—308
Charles Sifford 77-76-76-80—309
Tom Shaw 77-76-78-81—312
Jim Simons 77-72-81-83—313
Roy Pace 74-76-78-85—313
a-Bill Hyndman 79-72-82-81—314
a-Andy Bean 74-76-83-81—314
Bruce Summerhays 77-76-79-83—315

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