Top 5 US Open Performances of All Time: Which Golfers Played Best in Major?

Last Updated: Jun 10, 2021

The 2021 PGA US Open will take place Thursday, June 17, through Sunday, June 20 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California. To get you ready for the 121st US Open, we’re sharing the top 5 greatest performances in U.S. Open History.

Top 5 US Open Performances of All Time: Which Golfers Played Best in Major?

5. Hale Irwin

1990 US Open (Medinah Country Club: Medinah, Illinois)

This US Open saw a throwback to one of the best golfers from the 1970s: Hale Irwin. Irwin had seen great success on the tour back in the 1970s, but according to most experts, he was well past his prime coming into this US Open at the age of 45.

Irwin came into Sunday four strokes back of the leaders but had an amazing round that included a 31-stroke back 9 and a 45-foot birdie putt that secured the win on 18.

4. Jack Nicklaus

1967 US Open (Baltusrol Golf Club: Springfield, New Jersey)

When thinking of a US Open, 1967 is usually one of the first to come to mind. With Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and defending Open champion Billy Casper all trailing an amateur named Marty Fleckman heading into the final round, the stage was set for an epic finish. Nicklaus was able to take a four-stroke lead into the back nine after hitting a string of birdie putts and never looked back.

3. Ben Hogan

1950 US Open (Merion Golf Club: Ardmore, Pennsylvania)

This entry on our list is more of a come-back story than anything else. Ben Hogan had been involved in a near-fatal car accident that left him in the hospital for almost two months. He survived fractures of the pelvis, left ankle, collar bone, blood clots and broken ribs.

Less than a year and a half later, Hogan was not only back on the golf course but wound up winning the US Open. In 1949, the final two rounds were both played on Saturday, and Hogan was able to force an 18 hole playoff on Sunday and picked up the win by four strokes.

2. Rory McIlroy

2011 US Open (Congressional Country Club: Bethesda, Maryland)

When you come into a US Open. and not only win but break 11 records along the way, that is a good way to land on our countdown. Rory McIlroy shot a 65 on the first day and a 66 on the second day and entered Saturday with a remarkable -11 total and a 6 shot lead.

Not only was a 6 shot lead a record for the biggest lead at a halfway point of a major championship, but he also had the lowest 36 hole total in Open history. McIlroy cruised to an 8-stroke victory.

1. Tiger Woods

2000 US Open (Pebble Beach Golf Links: Pebble Beach, California)

Yeah, you probably guessed this one. The single-most-dominant performance in not only US Open history, but in majors history as well. Tiger won the open by 15 strokes and was completely untouchable. He was the only golfer in the field to finish under par and finished himself at 12 under.

The greatest US Open performance would be the kickoff to the “Tiger Slam" as Woods would win the next 3 majors that year and became the sport of Golfs biggest star.

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Nate Bush

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