These 10 States Have Hosted the Most U.S. Opens in Golf History
The U.S. Open is the third of four Grand Slam tournaments, also called the “majors.” The others are the Masters, the PGA Championship, and the British Open. The U.S. Open offers the biggest purse of the four.
Like the Olympics, golf’s U.S. Open changes venues every time it’s held. It moves from one prestigious golf club to another across America.
Some states have never hosted one, while states with numerous prominent golf courses have hosted many. Oddly, though even though Florida has the most golf courses in America, it has only held U.S. Open qualifying events. But never the big one.
Stacker has ranked the 10 states that have hosted the U.S. Open the most times, using data from the U.S. Open website and other sources. Let’s dive in.
– Times hosted: 4
– First: Minikahda Club, 1916
– Last: Hazeltine National Golf Club, 1991
– All host courses (times hosted): Hazeltine National Golf Club (2), Minikahda Club, Interlachen Country Club
In 1916, Chick Evans became the first golfer to break 140 in the first two rounds of a U.S. Open with a 69-70 en route to a wire-to-wire triumph. He took home $300—the equivalent of $8,000 today.
The most dramatic finish of two U.S. Opens held on the Robert Trent Jones-designed Hazeltine course came in 1991, when Payne Stewart and Scott Simpson dueled to a tie in a 6-under-par 282. In the 18-hole playoff, Stewart came from behind to secure his first of two U.S. Open titles.
Perhaps the most momentous U.S. Open came in 1930 on the Interlachen course when Bobby Jones won his third of four Grand Slam tournaments in the same year—a feat that no golfer has managed before or since.
– Times hosted: 5
– First: Baltimore Country Club, 1899
– Last: Congressional Country Club, 2011
– All host courses (times hosted): Congressional Country Club (3), Baltimore Country Club, Columbia Country Club
Rory McIlroy’s performance at the 2011 U.S. Open was historic in two ways: His 268 remains the best 72-hole score in U.S. Open history (only 36 holes were played from 1895 to 1897).
McIlroy’s 16-under-par has only been equaled once—by Brooks Koepka in 2017. Winning by eight strokes, McIlroy’s win at age 22 also made the Northern Ireland lad the youngest U.S. Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923.
The U.S. Open on the same Congressional course in 1997 was also dramatic because South African Ernie Els won by a single stroke over Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie. As natives of the country that invented golf, Scottish golfers won 12 of the first 16 U.S. Opens. No Scotsman ever won one by a wider margin than Willie Smith’s 11-stroke victory at Baltimore, back in 1899.
– Times hosted: 6
– First: Oakland Hills Country Club, 1924
– Last: Oakland Hills Country Club, 1996
– Single host course (times hosted): Oakland Hills Country Club (6)
Only two golf clubs have hosted more U.S. Opens than Oakland Hills in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and it’s already been selected as the site of the 2034 and 2051 U.S. Open.
It’s a tough course, nicknamed “the Monster,” which seems to have an equalizing effect on the competition because the last three U.S. Opens there have each been decided by one stroke, won by Steve Jones in 1996, Andy North in 1985, and Gene Littler in 1961.
Oh, about that nickname: It came from an oft-repeated remark by Ben Hogan after he won the U.S. Open there in 1951. “I’m glad I brought this course—this monster—to its knees.”
He also called it the hardest course he’d ever played and called his final round of 67 the best round of his illustrious career.
– Times hosted: 7
– First: Inverness Club, 1920
– Last: Inverness Club, 1979
– All host courses (times hosted): Inverness Club (4), Canterbury Country Club (2), Scioto Country Club
Close finishes happen time and again when the U.S. Open is played in Ohio. Four of the state’s seven U.S. Opens have gone to a tiebreaking playoff round. The other three were settled by one stroke at Inverness in 1920 and Scioto in 1926, and two strokes at Inverness in 1979.
The winners of the four playoffs were Billy Burke in 1931, Lawson Little in 1940, Lloyd Mangrum in 1946, and Dick Mayer in 1957. Burke’s 1931 victory was noteworthy because it featured a 72-hole playoff; he was tied with George Von Elm after 18, 36, and 54 holes—the longest in U.S. Open history—amid scorching heat.
#6. New Jersey
– Times hosted: 8
– First: Baltusrol Golf Club, 1903
– Last: Baltusrol Golf Club, 1993
– All host courses (times hosted): Baltusrol Golf Club (7), Englewood Golf Club
Only Pennsylvania’s Oakmont Country Club (9) has hosted the U.S. Open more times than the storied Baltusrol course in northern New Jersey, which dates back to 1895.
Plenty of golf history has been made on the course. It hosted the first nationally televised U.S. Open in 1954, and it is the only club to host the U.S. Open Men’s and Women’s Championships on both of its dual courses.
Huge crowds flocked to watch Jack Nicklaus outduel Arnold Palmer in 1967 and then again triumph over Isao Aoki in 1980.
The closest Open at Baltusrol came in 1903 when Willie Anderson notched his first of three straight Open victories—something no other golfer has pulled off—in a playoff round against fellow Scotsman David Brown.
– Times hosted: 10
– First: Myopia Hunt Club, 1898
– Last: The Country Club, 2022
– All host courses (times hosted): Myopia Hunt Club (4), The Country Club (4), Brae Burn Country Club, Worcester Country Club
Seven of the nine U.S. Opens in the Bay State, including the last six straight, have come down to playoffs—most recently at The Country Club when Curtis Strange eked out a win against British golfer Nick Faldo in 1988.
In another dramatic playoff on the same golf course in 1963, Julius Boros held off fellow Americans Arnold Palmer and Jacky Cupit after the trio tied at 9-over-par—the worst score by a winning golfer since 1935—due to winds that approached 50 mph.
Other U.S. Open playoffs in Massachusetts saw:
- Willie Macfarlane beating Bobby Jones in 1925 at Worcester
- Walter Hagen edging Mike Brady in 1919 at Brae Burn;
- American Francis Ouimet holding off two golfers from the island nation of Jersey in 1913 at The Country Club.
- A Scottish golfer, Alex Smith, must have felt like the fox rather than the hound at Myopia Hunt Club when he finished second in three U.S. Opens on that course in 1898, 1901, and 1905, twice losing to compatriot and four-time Open winner Willie Anderson.
– Times hosted: 13
– First: Chicago Golf Club, 1897
– Last: Olympia Fields Country Club, 2003
– All host courses (times hosted): Chicago Golf Club (3), Medinah Country Club (3), Olympia Fields Country Club (2), Glen View Club, Onwentsia Club, Midlothian Country Club, Skokie Country Club, North Shore Golf Club
No other state has hosted the U.S. Open at more golf clubs than Illinois with eight, and several tournaments have been momentous.
Most recently in 2003, Jim Furyk became the first golfer to be awarded more than $1 million for a U.S. Open win. Furyk truly earned it as his 272 at Olympia Fields tied the U.S. Open record (since broken by Rory McIlroy’s 268) shared by Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Lee Janzen.
The two previous U.S. Opens in Illinois were settled in playoffs at Medinah, including Hale Irwin’s win in 1990—accomplished at age 45, becoming the oldest man to win a U.S. Open title.
Other noteworthy Opens in the Land of Lincoln include two Bobby Jones runner-up finishes in nail-biting losses in 1928 and 1922. John McDermott became the Open’s youngest-ever winner at the age of 19 at the Chicago Golf Club in 1911. Illinois hosted the U.S. Open an average of once every four years between 1897 and 1933.
– Times hosted: 14
– First: Riviera Country Club, 1948
– Last: Torrey Pines Golf Course, 2021
– All host courses (times hosted): Pebble Beach G.L. (6), The Olympic Club (5), Torrey Pines Golf Course (2), Riviera Country Club
The U.S. Open had already been held for more than a half-century before California hosted its first one, but the Golden State is catching up fast.
The 2023 U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club will be the seventh since 2000, and the 11th since 1980. Some legends of golf won a few in earlier decades, including Ben Hogan at Riviera in 1948, and Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach in 1972.
Tiger Woods—still playing after so many golf injuries and his single vehicle car crash—has made the biggest splash since then. Tiger won at Pebble Beach in 2000 by a record 15 strokes at 272—an amazing score on the rugged Monterey peninsula course—and won again in a playoff against Rocco Mediate in 2008 at Torrey Pines.
More recently at Torrey Pines, rising star Jon Rahm edged Louis Oosthuizen by a single stroke in 2021 to become the first Spanish winner of the Open.
– Times hosted: 17
– First: Philadelphia Cricket Club, 1907
– Last: Oakmont Country Club, 2016
– All host courses (times hosted): Oakmont Country Club (9), Merion Golf Club (4), Philadelphia Cricket Club (2), Philadelphia Country Club, Merion Cricket Club
No country club has hosted more U.S. Opens than Oakmont with its tight fairways, deep bunkers, and sloping greens. The Pittsburgh-area club has been the site of some stirring showdowns, notably Jack Nicklaus’ playoff win over Arnold Palmer in 1962.
Nine years later, Nicklaus was on the losing end of a playoff against Lee Trevino on the Philadelphia area’s Merion course.
Among the other U.S. Open winners in the 20th century were:
- Byron Nelson at Philadelphia Country Club in 1939
- Ben Hogan at Merion in 1950 and Oakmont in 1953
- Johnny Miller at Oakmont in 1973 (when he shot a U.S. Open record 63 on the fourth round)
- Ernie Els at Oakmont in 1994
The 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont was arguably the most riveting as Argentina’s Angel Cabrera became the first South American to win the Open with a one-stroke win over Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk in 2007.
#1. New York
– Times hosted: 20
– First: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, 1896
– Last: Winged Foot Golf Club, 2020
– All host courses (times hosted): Winged Foot Golf Club (6), Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (5), Oak Hill Country Club (3), Bethpage State Park (2), Garden City Golf Club, Country Club of Buffalo, Inwood Country Club, Fresh Meadow Country Club
Just as New York has hosted the U.S. Open in tennis since 1924, it’s hosted more U.S. Opens in golf than any state, dating back to the second year of the tournament’s existence in 1896.
Highlights of this long history include two playoff squeakers at Winged Foot: Fuzzy Zoeller over Greg Norman in 1984 and Bobby Jones over Al Espinosa in 1929.
Phil Mickelson sealed his reputation as a perennial “bridesmaid” in the sport—often placing second to Tiger Woods—by finishing second at the U.S. Open a record six times.
Four of these second-place finishes were in New York: Bethpage in 2002 (also behind Tiger), Shinnecock Hills in 2004, Winged Foot in 2006, and Bethpage again in 2009.
“Lefty” is still looking for his first U.S. Open win, the only Grand Slam title missing from his resume. And it probably won’t happen in New York, because none are scheduled there in the coming years.
This article was produced by Stacker