Oakmont followed by Congressional?
I’m not daft enough to believe the set-up will resemble a U.S. Open but try telling that to 2014 winner Justin Rose. He was joined in a playoff by Shawn Stefani as they both posted 280, a scant four-under-par, the highest winning score in this event.
Congressional was redesigned before the 2011 U.S. Open so my focus turns to that event and forward, not backwards. Speaking of U.S. Opens, they just don’t hand out major championships to courses that don’t present a stern test.
1964 U.S. Open (Ken Venturi)
1976 PGA Championship (Dave Stockton)
1995 U.S. Senior Open (Tom Weiskopf)
1997 U.S. Open (Ernie Els)
2011 U.S. Open (Rory McIlroy)
Take a look at the winners in this event and at Congressional if you need to split a few hairs. Plenty of class holding the trophy at the end of play. Only nine of the OWGR top 50 are in attendance so the herd is thin to begin with.
2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)
In 2014-15 there were 14 players in their 20s who won tournaments. They accounted for a whopping 24 victories in 47 events.
Under 30 Winners (10 different winners from 13 events)
- Emiliano Grillo, 23; Frys.com
- Smylie Kaufman, 23; Shriners
- Justin Thomas, 22; CIMB
- Peter Malnati, 28; SFC
- Jordan Spieth, 22; HTOC, DEAN & DELUCA at Colonial
- Hideki Matsuyama, 23; WMPO
- Jason Day, 28; API & WGC-Dell Match Play, THE PLAYERS
- Danny Willett, 28; Masters
- Branden Grace, 27; RBC Heritage
- Daniel Berger, 23; FESJC
The guys between 30-39 years of age produced 16 multiple champions in 17 events last season.
Winners 30-39 (17 players in 18 events)
- Russell Knox, 30; HSBC Champions
- Graeme McDowell, 36; OHL Mayakoba
- Kevin Kisner, 31; RSM Classic
- Fabian Gomez, 37; Sony Open
- Jason Dufner, 38; CB Challenge
- Brandt Snedeker, 35; Farmers Insurance Open
- Vaughn Taylor, 39; AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
- Bubba Watson, 37; Northern Trust Open
- Adam Scott, 35; Honda Classic, WGC-Cadillac Championship
- Charl Schwartzel, 31; Valspar
- Jim Herman, 38; Shell Houston Open
- Charley Hoffman, 39; Valero Texas Open
- Brian Stuard, 33; Zurich Classic
- James Hahn, 34; Wells Fargo Championship
- Sergio Garcia, 36; AT&T Byron Nelson
- William McGirt, 36; Memorial
- Dustin Johnson, 31; U.S. Open
There were only four winners last season from 47 events (Furyk, Cejka, Love III and Harrington). Sentimentality and name recognition has no place in fantasy golf, folks.
Western Pennsylvania native Jim Furyk, 46, matched his T-2 from nine years ago. Super news for season-long investors as well after wrist surgery.
Last year the only rookie to pick up a first-place check was Canadian Nick Taylor. This season it took ONE EVENT to match that total.
- Emiliano Grillo; Frys.com
- Smylie Kaufman; Shriners
Francis Ouimet was the last man to win the U.S. Open in his first try. Andrew Landry made it interesting for a minute and Bryson DeChambeau reaffirmed his class in big events as both finished T-15.
Rookies, journeyman, up-and-comers, I’ll keep track of them all. It’s a life-changer.
McGirt/Berger makes it back-to-back weeks for the virgins!
First-Time Winners on Tour
- 2013: 12
- 2014: 10
- 2015: 11
- 2016: (13 and counting)
- Emiliano Grillo (Frys.com)
- Smylie Kaufman (Shriners)
- Justin Thomas (CIMB)
- Peter Malnati (SFC)
- Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions)
- Kevin Kisner (RSM)
- Tony Finau (PRO)
- Jim Herman (SHO)
- Danny Willett (Masters)
- Branden Grace (RBC Heritage)
- Brian Stuard (Zurich Classic)
- William McGirt (Memorial)
- Daniel Berger (FESJC
The total of 12 first-timers matches the best total in the last four years and we’re only one tournament into June. Heading into uncharted waters now!
Last Week’s Recap Column can be accessed by clicking HERE.
All the facts, figures and course information can be found in my preview below!