Back-to-Back Winners of the U.S. Open

How many golfers have won back-to-back U.S. Open titles? So far the number is seven. Neither Jack Nicklaus nor Tiger Woods did it, but there is one golfer who won this tournament three times in a row.

The seven golfers who've been back-to-back U.S. Open champs include Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan, two of the biggest names in the game's history. Hogan even has a sort-of claim on the "three in a row" mantle — but he's not one golfer who won this major three consecutive years.

One Golfer Won the U.S. Open Back-to-Back-to-Back

There is one golfer in U.S. Open history who won the tournament three consecutive years: Willie Anderson. Anderson was the tournament's first four-time champion, and three of his victories were consecutive. He won in 1903, 1904 and 1905. (His first win was in 1901.)

Anderson's three-in-a-row streak happened in the ninth, 10th and 11th U.S. Opens, respectively. He won the 1903 tournament in a playoff over David Brown. In 1904, Anderson came from behind in the final round to win by five. He did it by scoring 72 in the fourth round, the lowest score in tournament history to that point. In 1905, Anderson won his third in a row, and became the tournament's first four-time champ, with a 2-stroke win over Alex Smith.

The List: U.S. Open Consecutive Winners

Listed from earliest to most-recent, these are the golfers who have won back-to-back in the U.S. Open:
  • Willie Anderson, 1903, 1904, 1905

  • John McDermott, 1911-12: McDermott came this close to winning three in row like Anderson. At age 18, in the 1910 U.S. Open, McDermott lost in an 18-hole playoff. Then he won back-to-back the following two years. His win at age 19 in the 1911 U.S. Open made him the youngest-ever U.S. Open champion, a record he still holds. He finished his 2-stroke victory in the 1912 U.S. Open at 294, 2-under-par on the par-74 golf course. That made him the first golfer to complete a significant, 72-hole golf tournament below par.

  • Bobby Jones, 1929-30: One of five amateurs who've won the U.S. Open, Jones is also one of the four golfers who've won it four times. He first won it in 1923, then again in 1926. In the 1929 U.S. Open, Jones shot 79 in the final round (including a triple bogey on the 15th) to fall into a playoff against Al Espinosa. But then he won that playoff by 23 strokes. Jones' win in the 1930 U.S. Open (by two over Macdonald Smith) was the third leg of his single-season grand slam.

  • Ralph Guldahl, 1937-38: Often overlooked today, Ralph Guldahl was on fire in the late 1930s. He finished second in The Masters both years he won the U.S. Open, before winning the 1939 Masters. His 1937 U.S. Open victory was by two strokes over Sam Snead, with a then-tournament-record score of 281. Guldahl ran away with the 1938 U.S. Open title, winning by six.

  • Ben Hogan, 1950-51: Hogan's win in the 1950 U.S. Open was nicknamed the "Miracle at Merion," because it came just 16 months after he was severely injured and almost killed in an auto accident. Hogan won in a three-way, 18-hole playoff, shooting 69 to Lloyd Mangrum's 73 and George Fazio's 75. Hogan was tied for fifth place after three rounds at the 1951 U.S. Open, but shot 67, the best score of the tournament, in the final round to win by two. Hogan also won the 1948 U.S. Open, and then, because of the auto accident, did not play the tournament in 1949. So while Hogan did not win three consecutive Opens, he did win back-to-back-to-back U.S. Opens in which he played.

  • Curtis Strange, 1988-89: Strange won the 1988 U.S. Open by beating Nick Faldo in an 18-hole playoff, 71 to 75. In the final round of the 1989 U.S. Open, Strange opened with 15 consecutive pars before making a birdie. He finished with a one-stroke victory — then never won again on the PGA Tour.

  • Brooks Koepka, 2017-18: The most-recent back-to-back champ is Koepka, who also happens to be the most-recent back-to-back PGA Championship winner, too. The 2017 U.S. Open, which Koepka won by four, was his first career victory in a major. He repeated in 2018 with a one-stroke victory.

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