September 22, 2019, 20:53

US Open: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods among past Pebble Beach winners

US Open: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods among past Pebble Beach winners

The US Open will return to Pebble Beach Golf Links for the sixth time as the course celebrates its 100th anniversary.

The iconic course in California will host the third major of the season from June 13-16, live on Sky Sports Golf, with the USGA event expected to once again provide an exciting spectacle.

From Jack Nicklaus’ 13th major at the first staging in 1972 to Tiger Woods’ historic 15-shot win in 2000 and Graeme McDowell’s triumph, first for a European in 40 years, there has often been compelling drama.

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The first major to be held at Pebble Beach saw the golfers face challenging scoring conditions throughout the week, particularly in the closing final.

Nicklaus held a one-shot lead over Bruce Crampton, Kermit Zarley and Lee Trevino, who had received treatment for pneumonia in hospital in the week of the tournament, after the third round, with great adversary Arnold Palmer two shots back.

The final-round scoring average was the highest in the post-World War II era at the US Open and Nicklaus fared the best in the elements.

The American produced a touch of genius at the par three 17th as he struck a one iron through the wind, before his ball bounced once and struck the flagstick, as a two-over 74 saw him complete a wire-to-wire victory.

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A decade later and the second staging witnessed a dramatic conclusion, with Nicklaus once again in contention before a memorable finish for Tom Watson saw him celebrate victory.

Watson, who had already won five majors, surged into a share of the lead after a four-under 68 in the third round to join countryman Bill Rogers.

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Nicklaus, who begun the final day four off the lead, made five consecutive birdies on his front nine as he closed with a three-under 69, as Rogers hurt his hopes of a second major with back-to-back bogeys around the turn.

Watson produced a remarkable chip-in at the 17th, celebrated jubilantly with caddie Bruce Edwards, to earn a one-shot lead and he used the momentum to close with a birdie to edge Nicklaus.


The elements once again caused havoc on the final day as coastal winds saw many in the field fall out of contention, including Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam.

Gil Morgan had earlier become the first player to reach double-digits under-par in the competition’s history but he collapsed midway through his third round and despite holding the overnight lead fell out of contention in the final round.

Tom Kite defied the conditions to card a level-par 72 to finish two shots clear of fellow American Jeff Sluman as he won the only major of his career.

Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie jumped 25 places to finish third with a 70 for the joint lowest round of the day.


Moved two years earlier in the rotation, Woods delivered a dominant performance from start to finish as he won his first US Open in record fashion.

The week saw several commemorations to Payne Stewart, who died in an aviation accident eight months earlier, including Jack Nicklaus taking the defending champion’s spot in the traditional grouping of the prior year’s Open, US Amateur and US Open champion.

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Woods was only one clear of Miguel Angel Jimenez after the first round but headed to the weekend six clear as his peers struggled and despite a third round level-par 72 he took a 10-shot lead over Ernie Els into the final day.

The then 24-year-old began his final round with nine straight pars and three consecutive birdies on his back nine coupled with some battling par saves saw him go bogey-free, with his margin of victory remaining the biggest to date in major history.


McDowell’s triumph began a period in which four out of five US Open champions between 2010-14 were European.

The Northern Irishman held a two-shot lead at the midway stage, but multiple major winners Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson were both within striking distance.

Dustin Johnson stormed to the top of the leaderboard after a third round five-under 66, while McDowell’s round of level par left him outright second with Woods two further back.


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