Biggest Margin of Victory Ever at the U.S. Open Tournament

Tiger Woods holds the US Open margin of victory record

What are the biggest wins in the history of the U.S. Open golf tournament — the golfers who won this major championship by the biggest amounts? The record-holder you can probably guess: He won by 15 strokes and did so in the 21st Century.

The Biggest Win Ever at the U.S. Open: 15 Strokes

When you win a golf tournament, any tournament, by 15 strokes, you are firing on all cylinders. And Tiger Woods was most definitely firing on all cylinders in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

His 15-stroke winning margin that year isn't just the all-time U.S. Open margin-of-victory record, but the largest winning margin in any of the four professional majors. It even remains the second-best margin of victory in any tournament now counted as a PGA Tour event.

Woods wasn't just in dominant form as a player in 2000. He was also using brand new technology in his golf ball, tech that no other pro golfer had yet put into play. (Golf Magazine wrote about the golf ball aspect of Tiger's win in this 2019 article.)

This victory set off Woods' "Tiger Slam" year in which he won four consecutive majors, becoming the only golfer to hold all four of the pro majors at the same time.

Woods opened with a 65 and led by one. He shot 69 and pushed his lead to six in Round 2. In the third round, Woods scored 71 and took a 10-stroke lead. And in the final round he closed with a 67 to finish at 12-under 272. The distant runners-up were Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez at 3-over 284.

List of Largest Winning Margins in U.S. Open Tournament

This list includes every golfer who has won the tournament by seven or more strokes, along with the runners-up at each of those U.S. Opens.
  • 15 strokes: Tiger Woods (272) in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. Second place: Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
  • 11 strokes: Willie Smith (315) in the 1899 U.S. Open at Baltimore (Md.) Country Club. Second place: Val Fitzjohn, George Low and Bert Way
  • 9 strokes: James Barnes (289) in the 1921 U.S. Open at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Second place: Walter Hagen and Fred McLeod
  • 8 strokes: Martin Kaymer (271) in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort (No. 2 Course) in Village of Pinehurst. Second place: Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton
  • 8 strokes: Rory McIlroy (268) in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club (Blue Course) in Bethesda, Maryland. Second place: Jason Day
  • 7 strokes: Tony Jacklin (281) in the 1970 U.S. Open at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.. Second place: Dave Hill
  • 7 strokes: Alex Smith (295) in the 1906 U.S. Open at Onwentsie Club in Lake Forest, Ill. Second place: Willie Smith
  • 7 strokes: Fred Herd (328) in the 1898 U.S. Open at Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton, Mass. Second place: Alex Smith
Note that two golfers who make the list also finished as runner-up in other U.S. Opens that make this list: Willie Smith and Alex Smith. In fact, Willie was runner-up to Alex in Alex's 7-shot win in 1906. And, yes, they were brothers.

Photo credit: "Tiger Woods"by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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