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Jack Nicklaus

In his first year as a professional, Jack Nicklaus, 22, won the 62nd Open Championship at the Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa. Not since the days of Bob Jones had the same person been the latest winner of both the Open and the Amateur championships. The Open was decided by an 18-hole playoff after Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, the 1960 Champion, tied at 283, one under par.

During the playoff Nicklaus went ahead by one stroke on the fist hole, led by four strokes after six holes, and eventually won by 71 to 74. It was the fist victory as a professional for Nicklaus who won the Amateur Championship in 1959 and 1961. On the third day, before 24,492 spectators, the greatest gallery in the history of the Open, Nicklaus and Palmer stated a classic duel during the final holes. They were tied after 67 holes and both parred in.

On the 72nd green Nicklaus missed a 15-foot putt for a birdie and then watched Palmer, playing in the next group, fail to make a 20-foot putt for a birdie. Nicklaus' scores were 72-70-72-69-283. Palmers' rounds were 71-68-73-71-283. Nicklaus, renowned for his long driving, was also a remarkable putter. He three-putted only once in 90 holes on the testing Oakmont greens. Palmer, on the other hand, three-puttted 10 times.

The first-round leader was Gene Littler, the defending Champion who scored 69. After 36 holes Palmer and Bob Rosburg were tied at 139. Palmer and Bobby Nichols shared the 54-hole lead at 212. During the last day six players - Nicklaus, Palmer, Rosburg, Nichols, Phil Rodgers and Gary Player - held the lead at various times. Nichols and Rodgers, who made an 8 on the par-4 17th hole during the first round, tied for third at 285. Deane R. Beman, whose 67 in the fourth round was the lowest 18-hole score of the Championship, was low amateur with 293; Beman finished tied for 14th Records were established in both entries and attendance.

The entry of 2,474 surpassed the 2,453 mark set in 1960. The three-day attendance was 62,300, far ahead of the previous record of 47,975 set in 1961. Prize money of $73,800 in the Championship proper included bonuses of $2,500 each to Nicklaus and Palmer in the playoff; Nicklaus received $17,500 all told.

Additionally, $7,800 was awarded to professionals in 13 Sectional Qualifying Championships for a grand total of $81,600 for the entire Championship. Ben Hogan, who was not exempt from qualifying for the first time since 1941, was prevented by bursitis in a shoulder from tying to qualify sectionally.


Starts - 44

Best Finish - Winner 1962, '67, '72, & '80

Rds - 160

Cuts Made - 35

Top 3 - 9

Top 5 - 11

Top 10 - 18

Top 25 - 22

Avg. - 72.59

Scores In 60s - 29

Rds Under Par - 37

Earnings - $372,245.05
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    Historical Notes
    On Oct. 4, 1895, the first U.S. Open Championship was conducted by the United States Golf Association on the nine-hole course of Newport (R.I.) Golf and Country Club.
    The first U.S. Open was considered something of a sideshow to the first U.S. Amateur, which was played on the same course and during the same week. Both championships had been scheduled for September but were postponed because of a conflict with a more established Newport sports spectacle, the America's Cup yacht races.
    Ten professionals and one amateur started in the 36-hole competition, which was four trips around the Newport course in one day. The surprise winner was Horace Rawlins, 21, an English professional who was the assistant at the host course. Rawlins scored 91-82-173 with the gutta-percha ball.
    Prize money totalled $335, of which Rawlins won the $150 first prize. He also received a gold medal and custody of the Open Championship Cup for his club for one year.
    In its first decade, the U.S. Open was conducted for amateurs and the largely British wave of immigrant golf professionals coming to the United States.
    As American players began to dominate the game, the U.S. Open evolved into an important world golf championship. Young John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner in 1911 and repeated as champion in 1912.
    In 1913, the U.S. Open really took off when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, stunned the golf world by defeating famous English professionals, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, in a playoff.
    Another surge in the championship's popularity coincided with the amazing career of Georgia amateur Bob Jones, who won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930). Spectator tickets were sold for the first time in 1922 and a boom in entries caused the USGA to introduce sectional qualifying in 1924.
    In 1933, John Goodman became the fifth and last amateur to win the U.S. Open. The others were Ouimet, Jerome D. Travers (1915), Charles Evans Jr., (1916), and Jones.
    In each era, the world's greatest players have been identified by surviving the rigorous examination provided by the U.S. Open. Ben Hogan's steely determination boosted him to four victories (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953). Arnold Palmer's record comeback win in 1960, when he fired a final round of 65 to come from seven strokes off the lead, cemented his dashing image. Jack Nicklaus' historic assault on the professional record book began when he won the first of his four U.S. Open Championships in 1962, his rookie season as a professional.
    Nicklaus, who also won in 1967, 1972, and 1980, is one of only four golfers to win four U.S. Opens. The others are Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), Jones and Hogan.
    In 1954, the U.S. Open course was roped from tee to green for the first time. That year also marked the first national television coverage. Coverage was expanded by ABC Sports in 1977 so that all 18 holes of the final two rounds were broadcast live. In 1982, on the ESPN cable network, the first two rounds were broadcast live for the first time. NBC began televising the U.S. Open in 1995.
    The format of the U.S. Open has changed several times. The USGA extended the championship to 72 holes in 1898, with 36 holes played on each of two days. In 1926, the format was changed to 18 holes played each of two days, then 36 holes on the third day. In 1965, the present format of four 18-hole daily rounds was implemented for the first time.
    In 2002, a two-tee (Nos. 1 and 10) start was used for the first and second rounds. In addition, Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., was the first facility owned by the public to host a U.S. Open. International qualifying sites were added in 2005 and the champion at Pinehurst Resort in N.C. was Michael Campbell, who qualified in England.