PHOTOS: The 9 greatest U.S. Open moments of all time
October 05, 2011
1 of 9Louis Lopez/Cal Sport Media
Tiger Woods wins at San Diego's Torrey Pines with a torn ACL and two microfractures in his left leg. He makes clutch putts on the 18th hole two days in a row — first to tie Rocco Mediate and force a playoff, then, the next day, to keep the playoff going. After winning on the 19th hole, Woods goes in for reconstructive surgery and takes the rest of the year off — from golf, anyway.
2 of 9James Drake/SI
In the final round at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, Johnny Miller hits all 18 greens and takes just 29 putts. Ten of his approach shots are within 10 feet of the cup; incredibly, his round includes lip-outs on 17 and 18. Six shots behind and in 12th place to begin the day, Miller nips John Schlee by one. The USGA launches a stinging counteroffensive beginning at Winged Foot in '74.
3 of 9Hy Peskin/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Fighting through injuries suffered in a horrific car crash the previous year, Ben Hogan hits an instant-classic 1-iron on the last hole of a 36-hole final day at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., to make a 72nd-hole par and force a playoff — and eventually win. The club then disappears from his bag for years, and Merion somehow gets the date wrong on the commemorative fairway plaque. (It has since been fixed.)
4 of 9AP
On the morning of his scheduled 18-hole playoff with Jack Nicklaus at Merion, Lee Trevino throws a rubber snake on the tee box. "People talk about me playing a trick on Jack," Trevino says. "No, no. Sports Illustrated had bought this. We were posing at the beginning of the week to show how high the rough was. They brought me the hatchet and the safari hat and the snake. When we were done, I stuck the snake in my bag. When I got out to play on Monday, I pulled out the snake and Nicklaus said, 'Throw it over here.' So I threw it over."
5 of 9John G. Zimmerman/SI
Seven shots behind Mike Souchak with one round to play at Denver's Cherry Hills, Arnold Palmer, 31, drives the green at the par-4 first, birdies six of the first seven holes and shoots 65 for the win.
6 of 9Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Having already won the Masters, Phil Mickelson is about to become the de facto best player in the world as he stands on the 18th tee of the West Course at Winged Foot Golf Club outside New York City. A par will get him halfway to the Grand Slam and all the way into the head of No. 1 Tiger Woods. But it's not to be. Hitting driver off the tee (he didn't have a 3-wood in the bag, he explained later), Mickelson clangs his tee ball off a tent to start the most unforgettable double-bogey in history and hand the trophy to Geoff Ogilvy.
7 of 9Edwin Levick/USGA
Just as America is beginning to distinguish itself on the world stage, Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old amateur and former caddie, birdies the 17th hole and shoots 72 in a playoff to defeat famed British professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Thanks to plucky Ouimet, our first stateside golf hero, Americans discover golf is no longer just a Scottish thing.
8 of 9Jacqueline Duvoisin/SI
It looks like Mike Donald's year. Then along comes a 45-year-old who needed a special exemption just to get into the field at Medinah Country Club near Chicago. Showing the steely resolve that's won him two Opens already, Hale Irwin makes a stunning, 45-foot putt on the 18th green Sunday, does a victory lap around the green and wins a 19-hole playoff the next day.
9 of 9Bettmann/Corbis
Bobby Jones wins first Open in 1923. Level with Bobby Cruickshank as they come to the 18th hole of a playoff at Inwood Country Club on Long Island, N.Y., amateur Bobby Jones hits his drive into some loose dirt on the edge of the right rough. With a lagoon fronting the green, Cruickshank lays up. Jones goes for it, lacing his 2-iron nearly 200 yards over water and onto the green, seven feet from the pin. He wins his first of four Open titles by two, 76 to 78.
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