Wire-to-Wire Winners at the U.S. Open Golf Championship

Ben Hogan was a wire to wire US Open winner

How many golfers have won the U.S. Open wire-to-wire? The total so far is 17, with nine of those leading start to finish but being tied for the lead after one or more rounds; and eight of them leading start-to-finish and leading outright after every round.

That's the definition of a wire-to-wire winner in golf: a golfer who leads (or share the lead, in case of ties) following all four rounds of play, and winds up winning. Doing so is impressive even when another golfer or golfers tied the winner after one or more of the rounds. Winning wire-to-wire with no ties is truly a big win.

And especially so in one of the four major championships of men's golf, such as the U.S. Open. And following are all the golfers who have achieved a start-to-finish win in the U.S. Open.

Wire-to-Wire Winners, No Ties

These are the eight times a golfer has won the U.S. Open, leading start to finish without being tied at the end of any round:
  • Walter Hagen, 1914 U.S. Open: Hagen was the first to go wire-to-wire holding the outright lead after each round. Hagen led by one after the first and second rounds, by two after the third, and won by a single stroke over amateur Chick Evans (who appears himself on this list.)
  • Jim Barnes, 1921 U.S. Open: Barnes increased his lead each round, from three strokes after the first to five, then seven, and finally to winning by nine shots.
  • Ben Hogan, 1953 U.S. Open: Hogan won all three majors he entered in 1953, the first golfer to win three pro majors in the same calendar year. He won this tournament by six over Sam Snead.
  • Tony Jacklin, 1970 U.S. Open: This was the first men's major played at Hazeltine, and the course was ripped as unready by many players. Jacklin was very ready, however, winning by seven strokes.
  • Tiger Woods, 2000 U.S. Open and 2002 U.S. Open: The only golfer who has gone wire-to-wire, no ties, twice, is Woods. His 15-stroke win in 2000 was the most dominant in major championship history. In 2002, Woods led by one stroke after the first round, then three, then four, and won by three over runner-up Phil Mickelson.
  • Rory McIlroy, 2011 U.S. Open: McIlroy led by six at the halfway point and wound up winning by eight, and setting a U.S. Open scoring record in the process.
  • Martin Kaymer, 2014 U.S. Open: Kaymer took a three-stroke lead after the first round, and was never challenged after that, winning by eight.

Wire-to-Wire Winners, Including Ties

There are nine additional times a golfer has won the U.S. Open leading start to finish, but sharing the lead after one or more rounds:
  • Willie Anderson, 1903 U.S. Open: The first of three consecutive U.S. Open wins for Anderson.
  • Alex Smith, 1906 U.S. Open: Shared the first-round lead with Anderson, but won by seven strokes over his brother Willie Smith.
  • Chick Evans, 1916 U.S. Open: Won as an amateur, and carrying only seven clubs in his bag.
  • Tommy Bolt, 1958 U.S. Open: Part of a three-way tie after Round 1, but led outright thereafter.
  • Jack Nicklaus, 1972 U.S. Open and 1980 U.S. Open: There was a six-way tie after both the first and second rounds in 1972. In 1980, Nicklaus opened with a record-tying 63, but was matched by Tom Weiskopf, and shared the third-round lead with Isao Aoki.
  • Hubert Green, 1977 U.S. Open: Won despite being informed before the final round that a death threat against him had been phoned in to the police. Part of a 7-way tie after Round 1, led outright thereafter.
  • Payne Stewart, 1991 U.S. Open: Tied after the first, third and fourth rounds. Won in a playoff over Scott Simpson.
  • Retief Goosen, 2001 U.S. Open: Tied after the second, third and fourth rounds. Won in a playoff over Mark Brooks.
Photo: Ben Hogan received a parade down Broadway in New York City after winning three majors in 1953. Credit: New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer: DeMarsico, Dick, photographer. / Public domain

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