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U.S. Open Preview | May 2003

7. Payne Stewart
Starts 16
Wins 2
Top 3s 4
Top 10s 7
Overall Rank 2.31

8. Gene Sarazen
Starts 24
Wins 2
Top 3s 7
Top 10s 14
Overall Rank 2.21

9. Hale Irwin
Starts 21
Wins 3
Top 3s 4
Top 10s 7
Overall Rank 2.19

10. Ralph Guldahl
Starts 16
Wins 2
Top 3s 3
Top 10s 7
Overall Rank 2.13

11. Walter Hagen
Starts 22
Wins 2
Top 3s 4
Top 10s 16
Overall Rank 2.09

12. Lee Janzen
Starts 13
Wins 2
Top 3s 2
Top 10s 3
Overall Rank 2.08

13. Arnold Palmer
Starts 23
Wins 1
Top 3s 6
Top 10s 13
Overall Rank 1.74


The winning score at ten of the last 40 Opens was even par or higher—proof that the USGA often succeeds in making par the ideal score, rather than something competitors settle for when they can't do better. The median score for the Open since 1963 is three under par.

Course/Year The Country Club, 1963
Winner Julius Boros
Score +9 (293)
Comment Poor greens from a late, icy winter and fierce winds drove up scores. Boros beat Arnold Palmer and Jacky Cupit in an 18-hole play-off.

Course/Year Winged Foot, 1974
Winner Hale Irwin
Score +7 (287)
Comment Very narrow fairways, five-inch rough, steep Tillinghast bunkers and greens so fast that some barely tapped downhill putts rolled off the green.

Course/Year Bellerive, 1965
Winner Gary Player
Score +2 (282)
Comment Only six years old, the course had raw fairways and unusual length for the era: 7,191 yards. Player was the first foreigner to win a U.S. Open since 1920.

Course/Year Pebble Beach, 1972
Winner Jack Nicklaus
Score +2 (290)
Comment With greens cut to 3/32d of an inch, Nicklaus's final round 74 in powerful winds beat Bruce Crampton by three and Arnold Palmer by four.

Course/Year Champions, 1969
Winner Orville Moody
Score +1 (281)
Comment "Sarge" Moody, retired from the Army for only two years, squeezed out his first of only two PGA Tour wins in hot, humid Houston weather.

Course/Year Cherry Hills, 1978
Winner Andy North
Score +1 (285)
Comment Another out-of-nowhere victor, North shot 74 on Sunday but won because most of the other contenders (including Player with a 77) scored worse.

Course/Year Merion, 1971
Winner Lee Trevino
Score Even (280)
Comment The short, funky par 70 demanded precision off the tee and nerves on the green. Trevino bested Nicklaus by three in an 18-hole play-off.


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