Spieth After Rare History at US Open

Jordan Spieth won the Masters two months ago, but adding a US Open crown to his trophy case in the same calendar year will put him in truly rarefied air.

Only five other men have ever accomplished the feat – the last one being Tiger Woods in 2002. Prior to that, it was 30 years since Jack Nicklaus in 1972.

Before him it was Arnold Palmer in 1960; Ben Hogan in both 1951 and 1953; and Craig Wood in 1941.

Here’s a look back at the previous times this rare feat has occurred.

Craig Wood (1941): Overall, he’s known as one of only two players, along with Greg Norman, to have lost all four Majors in a playoff. However he came shining through in 1941 at age 39, winning the Masters with a wire-to-wire victory, the first of its kind, going 66-71-61-72 – 280 to beat Byron Nelson by three strokes. The US Open was held at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, where his 4-over was enough to take the crown and become the first man to win both tournaments in the same season.

 Ben Hogan (1951): A little more than two years after his near-fatal car crash, and not even 18 months after returning to professional golf, Hogan won the Masters for the first time, with a 70-72-70-68 – 280 to take the title by two strokes. The US Open was held at Oakland Hills Country Club in Birmingham, Michigan, and Hogan was the defending champ. He had also won in 1948 before missing the event in 1949 due his car crash. Over a brutal four days, his final-round 67 got Hogan to +7 and won him the tournament by two strokes.

 Ben Hogan (1953): Hogan’s 1953 season is the stuff of golfing legend, as he won not just the Masters and US Open, but the Open Championship as well, the only man to do so in the same season. He did not play in the PGA Championship that year, or in many other years, because he did not like the match play format and it was tough for him to play more than 18 holes per day after his car crash. His win at The Masters was electrifying, a 14-under 274 that broke the overall course record by five strokes and stood until Jack Nicklaus broke it in 1965. The US Open was played at Oakmont, northeast of Pittsburgh, and he won his record-tying fourth title, the only player to finish under par with a 67-72-73-71 – 283, 5-under, easily enough to defeat Sam Snead by six strokes.

Arnold Palmer (1960) – The legend had just one Major under his belt and was 29 years old. He birdied the final two holes to win the tournament by a single stroke.  What followed at the Cherry Hills Country Club just south of Denver remains the greatest comeback in US Open history, as Palmer rallied from seven strokes down in the final with a dominant 65. He was tied for 15th as Sunday began, put started off with six birdies in the first seven holes, including one from 90 feet. His 6 was the lowest final-round score in US Open history. he nearly tied Hogan with three straight Majors, but finished second at the Open Championship.

Jack Nicklaus (1972) – When you rack up 18 Majors in your career, it goes without saying you’ll have more than one in a year a few times. He already had nine Majors in his pocket by the time 1972 rolled around, and took the title by three strokes, largely riding an opening-round 68. The US Open was held at picturesque Pebble Beach, and Nicklaus’ +2 was three strokes better than Bruce Crampton’s +5 for the title.

Tiger Woods (2002) – It seemed a foregone conclusion that Woods would accomplish this feat. He was 26 at the start of the 2002 Masters, and had already won six Majors, including three straight (US Open, The Open Championship, PGA Championship) in 2000. At Augusta, he became just the third player to defend his title. Four strokes off the lead at the midway point, he shot a third-round 66 to tie for the lead and added a 71 on Sunday to win the title by three strokes.



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