Los Angeles Country Club Hosts Its First U.S. Open

Pre-Championship Notes by Elias Sports Bureau

2023 U.S. OPEN PRE-CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES 

Compiled by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc. 

  • The Los Angeles Country Club is hosting a U.S. Open for the first time. It is the seventh venue to make its U.S. Open debut over the last 50 years, joining Atlanta Athletic Club (1976), Pinehurst (1999), Bethpage (2002), Torrey Pines (2008), Chambers Bay (2015) and Erin Hills (2017). 
  • This will mark the 15th U.S. Open, and 20th major played in the state of California. The only foreign players to win a U.S. Open in California are Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (in 2010 at Pebble Beach) and Jon Rahm (in 2021 at Torrey Pines). The only other foreign player to win a major in California is Australia’s Steve Elkington, who won the 1995 PGA Championship at Riviera. 
  • The only player to win more than one major championship in the state of California is Tiger Woods, who won the 2000 and 2008 U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines, respectively. Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, and Gary Woodland have a chance to join Tiger on that list. 
  • There are currently six PGA TOUR events based in California (Fortinet Championship, The American Express, Farmers Insurance Open, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Genesis Invitational and the Barracuda Championship). Here is the list of the most PGA TOUR Top-10 finishes in the state of California since the start of 2021-22 (last two seasons): Max Homa (5), Jon Rahm (4), Patrick Cantlay (3), Jason Day (3), Maverick McNealy (3), Will Zalatoris (3), Sahith Theegala (3) and Collin Morikawa (3). All six Americans on that list were born in the state of California. Five of the six Americans, except for Will Zalatoris, also went to college in the Golden State. 
  • The 2017 Walker Cup was contested at The Los Angeles Country Club, with the USA Team defeating Great Britain & Ireland, 19 to 7. Members of the American side included Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Cameron Champ, Doug Ghim, Maverick McNealy, Doc Redman and Will Zalatoris. Robert McIntyre was among the competitors for the GB&I Team. Morikawa, McNealy and Ghim were the only players to compete in all four sessions and go 4-0-0. 
  • This year marks the 50th anniversary of Johnny Miller’s U.S. Open victory at Oakmont C.C. Miller became the first player to shoot 63 or better in any round at the U.S. Open, doing so in the fourth round. That score has been matched five times in U.S. Open play, most recently by Tommy Fleetwood in the fourth round of the 2018 championship at Shinnecock Hills. Miller’s 63 was the lowest final round score ever shot by the winner of any major championship until it was matched 43 years later by Henrik Stenson (63) in the final round of the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon. 
  • This year marks the 20th anniversary of Jim Furyk’s U.S. Open victory at Olympia Fields C.C. The four major winners that year (Mike Weir-Masters, Jim Furyk-U.S. Open, Ben Curtis-The Open Championship and Shaun Micheel-PGA Championship) are all one-time major championship winners. It is the only year in which the four major championships were won by players who never won another major either before or since. 
  • The final score in relation to par for each of the last four U.S. Open winners was 6 under par or lower. It is the longest such streak in the history of this championship. Immediately prior to this stretch, 7 of 14 U.S. Opens were won with a final score of even par or higher. 
  • The last two champions of this event (Jon Rahm, Matthew Fitzpatrick) represent countries other than the United States. Only once since 1910 has there been a three-or-more year drought without an American U.S. Open champion. Over the four-year period from 2004 to 2007, the champions were: Retief Goosen (South Africa), Michael Campbell (New Zealand), Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) and Angel Cabrera (Argentina). 
  • The last 12 U.S. Opens were won by players inside the top 30 on the Official World Golf Ranking. That is the longest such streak at this championship since the inception of the rating system in 1986. 
  • The only player to win the U.S. Open while ranked the #1 player in the world is Tiger Woods, who did that in 2000, 2002 and 2008. 
  • Of the last 45 major championships played, only one was won by a player ranked outside the top 50 on the OWGR at the time. That was Phil Mickelson at the 2021 PGA Championship (ranked #115). 
  • The first two majors of 2023 were won by players who already had major championships on their respective resumes (Rahm, Koepka). It is rare to have the first three majors of a season won by established major champions. Over the last 20 years (2003 to 2022) that only happened one time. In 2014, the Masters was won by Bubba Watson (his second major victory), the U.S. Open was won by Martin Kaymer (second major) and both the Open Championship and the PGA Championship were won by Rory McIlroy (his third and fourth majors). 
  • The defending PGA Championship winner has struggled at the U.S. Open over the last three years. Collin Morikawa missed the cut at Winged Foot in the fall of 2020, Phil Mickelson finished T-62 at Torrey Pines in 2021 and Justin Thomas finished T-37 at The Country Club last year. 
  • Only once over the last 20 years has a player won the U.S. Open after winning the most recent major championship played: in 2015, Jordan Spieth won at Chambers Bay after winning the Masters. 
  • During the PGA Championship’s stroke-play era (since 1958), only three players have won the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year: Jack Nicklaus (1980), Tiger Woods (2000) and Brooks Koepka (2018). 
  • A player has won the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same season six times: Craig Wood (1941), Ben Hogan (1951, 1953), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972), Tiger Woods (2002) and Jordan Spieth (2015). Jon Rahm could become the first non-American to accomplish that feat. 
  • California native Xander Schauffele finished T-13 at the 2022 PGA Championship, followed by finishing T-14 at the U.S. Open at The Country Club, T-15 at The Open Championship at St. Andrews, T-10 at the 2023 Masters and T-18 at Oak Hill last month. He is the only player with a top-20 finish in each of the last five majors. 
  • In addition, Schauffele has finished among the top 15 in each of the last six U.S. Opens (T-5 at Erin Hills in 2017, T-6 at Shinnecock Hills in 2018, T-3 at Pebble Beach in 2019, 5th at Winged Foot in 2020, T-7 at Torrey Pines in 2021 and T-14 at The Country Club in 2022). It is the longest such streak at this championship since Lanny Wadkins had a six-year run like that from 1981-1986. The only players with a longer streak than Schauffele’s since 1920 are Jack Nicklaus (12, 1971-1982), Ben Hogan (12, 1940-1956), Sam Snead (9, 1947-1955) and Bobby Jones (11, 1920-1930). 
  • Starting with his 2017 U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills, Brooks Koepka has finished either first or second in nine of the last 22 majors in which he has competed (41%). The only other players with as many as three top-2 finishes in majors since June 2017 are Dustin Johnson (4), Louis Oosthuizen (3) and Will Zalatoris (3). Over the last 50 years, the only other players to finish either first or second place nine times over a span of 22 major championship starts are Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus. Most recently, Tiger did that from 2005 to 2011. 
  • Over the last 50 years, only three players have finished either first or second place in each of the first three majors of a season: Ernie Els in 2000 (2nd at Masters, T-2 at U.S. Open, T-2 at Open Championship), Tiger Woods in 2005 (Won Masters, 2nd at U.S. Open, Won Open Championship) and Brooks Koepka in 2019 (T-2 in Masters, Won PGA Championship, 2nd at U.S. Open). 
  • Jon Rahm has the longest current streak of making the cut in major championships, having made 15 in a row. The last player to make the cut in as many as 16 consecutive majors was Webb Simpson, who qualified for weekend play in 16 straight from 2017-2021. 
  • Lowest scoring averages in the majors since the start of 2020 (minimum:30 rounds): Scottie Scheffler (69.93, 46 rounds), Jon Rahm (70.38, 52 rounds) and Rory McIlroy (70.44, 48 rounds). 
  • Considering only the U.S. Open, Rory McIlory finished T-9 at Pebble Beach in 2019, T-8 at Winged Foot in 2020, T-7 at Torrey Pines in 2021 and T-5 at The Country Club last year. Over the last 40 years, only one player has had a longer streak of top-10s at this championship: Xander Schauffele had five consecutive top-10 finishes from 2017 to 2021. 
  • Viktor Hovland had a share of the third-round lead at the 2022 Open Championship; he had a share of the first-round lead at the 2023 Masters; he held a share of the second-round lead at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill last month. That is three majors in a row which he slept on at least a share of the lead. The last player to do that was Louis Oosthuizen in 2021. 
  • Can Hovland do it again? The last player to have at least a share of the lead at the end of a round in each of four consecutive majors was Tiger Woods during his ‘Tiger Slam’ (2000 U.S. Open to 2001 Masters). In fact, the only players to do this since 1958, when the PGA Championship adopted the stroke-play format, are Woods, Greg Norman (5 straight majors spanning parts of 1986 and 1987) and Jack Nicklaus (5 straight spanning parts of 1970 and 1971). 
  • Four amateurs made the cut at The Country Club last year: Travis Vick (T-43), Sam Bennett (T-49), Austin Greaser (T-61) and Stewart Hagestad (64th). Over the last 15 years, seven amateurs have finished among the top 25 at the U.S. Open: Viktor Hovland (2019, T-12), Jon Rahm (2016, T-23), Michael Kim (2013, T-17), Jordan Spieth (2012, T-21), Patrick Cantlay (2011, T-21), Russell Henley (2010, T-16) and Scott Langley (2010, T-16). All but Langley have gone on to win at least one PGA TOUR event. 
  • Cameron Smith finished T-4 in his U.S. Open debut in 2015 at Chambers Bay. Since then, he has struggled mightily at this championship. His best finish in six starts since that auspicious debut is T-38, in 2020. He has missed the cut three times, including in each of his last two starts. Over those last six appearances at the U.S. Open, he is a combined 59 strokes over par. 
  • Only three reigning Champion Golfers of the Year have won the U.S. Open: Harry Vardon in 1900 at Chicago GC, Jack Nicklaus in 1967 at Baltusrol and Tony Jacklin in 1970 at Hazeltine. Since 2000, the Open Championship winner has finished among the top 5 at the U.S. Open four times: Ernie Els (T-5 at Olympia Fields C.C. in 2003), Tiger Woods (T-2 at Oakmont C.C. in 2006), Ernie Els (T-4 at Merion G.C. in 2013) and Collin Morikawa (T-5 at The Country Club last year). 
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick will attempt to become the eighth player to win the U.S Open in consecutive years, joining Willie Anderson (1903,1904,1905), John McDermott (1911,1912), Bobby Jones (1929,1930), Ralph Guldahl (1937,1938), Ben Hogan (1950,1951), Curtis Strange (1988, 1989) and Brooks Koepka (2017, 2018). 
  • Dating back to 1990, the only U.S. Open champions to finish among the top 10 in their title defense the next year are Koepka (winning in 2017 and 2018; and finishing second to Gary Woodland at Pebble Beach in 2019) and Tiger Woods (finished T-6 at Bethpage in 2009). 

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