Friday, November 22, 2013

What Makes The U.S. Open Golf Trophy a Major Achievement

U.S. Open Golf TrophyA trophy is a reward for a significant achievement. Although there are many events played during the season, in the game of golf, there are several standout trophies which every professional player wishes to add to his viewing cabinet - the four Majors and the FedEx Cup

Although all wins are accompanied by a large check, it is the trophy which is raised high above the head which proudly displays the victory which preceded the struggle.

This golf blog was sent in by Dennis Phoenix, who asked if Golf for Beginners readers would be interested in a short history lesson on the U.S. Open Golf Trophy. The answer was, of course, we're always learning! Enjoy.

Dennis Phoenix is an avid sports fanatic and human resource specialist. He enjoys writing on the topics of business and sports history for AbleTrophies. For Dennis, the perfect weekend includes watching sports and mountain biking.

Two professional golf trophies have namesakes. For example, there is the Wanamaker Trophy that is awarded to the winner of the PGA Championship and the Claret Jug for the British Open. The Masters Trophy is just that but it accompanies the famous Green Jacket. But this is not the case with the U.S. Open Trophy even though it has been in existence since 1895. This makes it the oldest trophy of the four handed out during golf’s Grand Slam.


The trophy is a rather simple design. It is a silver jug set on top of a matching base. From each side extends an ear shaped handle. At the top of trophy stands a small winged female figure on the cup’s lid. From the top, the trophy tapers until it meets the wide base. On the barrel of the trophy the name of the winner is engraved in block type. The opposite side displays an engraved golf scene.


The first US Open trophy was awarded in 1895 at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island. The first golfer to claim the prize was Horace Rawlins from Britain. Along with the trophy, he took home a prize purse totaling a whopping $150. As was the custom at the time, Rawlins had the honor of displaying the trophy at his local club for one year and returning it for the next U.S. Open.

In the opening years of the golf tournament, the trophy was regularly won by the more experienced British golfers. But that changed in 1911 when native born John McDermott took home the trophy. Since that time, the trophy has been claimed by Americans on a regular basis.

In 1946 the original trophy was destroyed in a fire while on display at the Tam O’Shanter country Club near Chicago. The current trophy, which is closely modeled after the original, is no longer kept by the winner until the following tournament.  Since then, the US Golf Association has taken steps to ensure the trophy’s continued safety.

In 1986, The U.S. Open Trophy was ‘retired’ and is currently housed permanently in the USGA museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History in Far Hills, N.J. It is brought out for promotional events and displayed at the US Open.

Instead of getting possession of the original for a year, the US Open winner is awarded a replica of the trophy which they get to keep. As an odd 'aside', the winner is then responsible for having his own name engraved on the trophy.


Tiger Woods U.S. Open winner
2002 U.S. Open Winner Tiger Woods
Three players have won the U.S. Open four times each. They Include Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, and Bobby Jones. The last of these was Jack Nicklaus in 1980. More recently, golf’s most prominent player ever, Tiger Woods, has claimed the trophy three times. His most recent US Open victory was back in 2008.

The youngest champion was John McDermott who won the trophy in 1911 at the age of 19. You may remember his name from earlier. He was also the first American to win the US Open.

The oldest champion is Hale Irwin who took the prize in 1990 at the tender age of 45.

The most consecutive U.S. Open Championship starts was forty-four, by Jack Nicklaus - he competed in every Open from 1957 to 2000.

This year marked the U.S. Open’s 113th tournament. The tournament has been cancelled a total of five times in its history, twice for World War I and three times for World War II.

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