What Is the US Open in Golf?

What Is the US Open in Golf

There are four major professional golf tournaments that carry more weight and prestige than all the others. The United States Open Championship, commonly referred to as the US Open, is the third of those four major golf tournaments. Since 1895, the best golfers in America and abroad have competed at the US Open to prove who is truly that year’s best. Read on to learn all about the US Open in golf.

  • Location: Los Angeles, California (changes yearly)
  • Course: Los Angeles Country Club (changes yearly)
  • First Tournament: 1895
  • Par: 70
  • Length: 7,264 yards (6,642 meters)
  • Tour: PGA Tour
  • Format: Stroke play
  • Prize Fund: $17.5 Million
  • Most Wins: Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus (4 wins each)


The first US Open was held in 1895 at the Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island. The winner of that very first tournament was English golfer Horace Rawlins. Except for six tournaments that were canceled for World Wars I and II, the US Open has been annually held ever since at different country clubs throughout the United States.


The US Open follows this format:

  • The US Open is a 72-hole tournament taking place over four rounds.
  • The 156-player field is made up of both professional and amateur golfers.
  • After the first two rounds (36 holes), the field is cut to the top 60 players, plus any tied for 60th place.
  • In the third and fourth rounds, players are paired and tee times are determined based on players’ performance through the first two rounds, with similar performers matched together.
  • The player with the lowest cumulative score at the end of the tournament is declared the winner.
  • If there is a playoff, the tied players will play two additional holes and be judged by the two-hole aggregate score. Whichever player scores lower wins.
  • If there is still a tie for the win, any tied winners will compete in a one-hole sudden-death playoff, with the players competing one hole at a time until a winner is determined by one player achieving a lower score than the others.


The US Open is open to any professional or amateur golfer who has a USGA Handicap Index that is at or below 1.4. If a golfer has a low enough handicap, they can compete at an 18-hole local qualifier at a country club in the United States. Golfers who make it past the local qualifying stage can then compete in a 36-hole sectional qualifier at a country club in the United States, Europe, or Japan. The top 65 golfers from the sectional qualifiers are eligible to play in the US Open. There are also 24 exception categories that allow golfers to play in the US Open without entering the qualifying rounds. These spots are granted to past winners, recent Olympic medalists, top 60 golfers in the OWGR rankings, and other exceptions.

The US Open has been won four times each by four different golf legends. Willie Anderson was the first to set the record, winning the tournament in 1901 and then from 1903 to 1905. Bobby Jones won the US Open in 1923, 1926, 1929, and ultimately tied Anderson with his 1930 win. A decade later, Ben Hogan won the 1948, 1950, 1951, and 1953 tournaments. The last ever golfer to match this record was legend Jack Nicklaus, who won the US Open in 1962, 1967, 1972, and 1980.


When is the US Open played?

Traditionally, the US Open is played in June every year at a country club in the United States. That makes it the third of the four annual Majors, since the Masters takes place in April and the PGA Championship takes place in May. The only Major golf tournament to take place after it is the British Open in July.

What player has the most US Open wins in golf?

Four golfers have won the US Open four times each: Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus. Anderson first set the record by winning the tournament in 1901 and then consecutively from 1903 to 1905. Bobby Jones won the tournament in 1923, 1926, 1929, and 1930. Ben Hogan won the US Open in 1948, 1950, 1951, and 1953. Jack Nicklaus was the last to match the record, winning in 1962, 1967, 1972, and 1980.