1966 U.S. Open (golf)

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1966 U.S. Open
Tournament information
Dates June 16–20, 1966
Location San Francisco, California
Course(s) Olympic Club, Lake Course
Tour(s) PGA Tour
Statistics
Par 70
Length 6,719 yards (6,144 m)[1]
Field 151 players, 64 after cut
Cut 151 (+11)
Prize fund $147,490[2]
Winner's share $26,500
Champion
United States Billy Casper
278 (−2), playoff
Olympic Club is located in United States
Olympic Club
Olympic Club
Location in the United States

The 1966 U.S. Open was the 66th U.S. Open, held June 16–20 at the Lake Course of the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California. Billy Casper, the 1959 champion, staged one of the greatest comebacks in history by erasing a seven-stroke deficit on the final nine holes to tie Arnold Palmer, then prevailed in an 18-hole playoff to win the second of his three major titles.[3][4] It was the fourth playoff in five years at the U.S. Open, and the third for Palmer, the 1960 champion.

Of the fifteen sub-par rounds posted in this U.S. Open, four belonged to Casper. He one-putted 33 greens and did not three-putt a green until the 81st hole.[3]

Three future champions made their major championship debuts and all made the cut: Lee Trevino and collegians Hale Irwin and Johnny Miller. Irwin was entering his senior year at Colorado, where he was also an all-conference defensive back for the Buffaloes in football. Miller was a San Francisco native and junior merit member of the Olympic Club entering his sophomore year at BYU; he finished tied for eighth and was the low amateur by three strokes.[5]

It was the penultimate appearance at the U.S. Open for four-time champion Ben Hogan; he finished twelfth at age 53. Cary Middlecoff, champion in 1949 and 1956, made his final appearance this year but withdrew after the first round. Sam Snead, 54, failed to qualify for the U.S. Open for the first time in thirty years;[6] he had played in every edition since 1937 but never won.

The winner's share was $25,000 and both playoff participants received a $1,500 bonus.[7] Daily admission was five dollars for the first two rounds, seven dollars on the weekend, and five for the playoff.[8]

This was the second U.S. Open at the Lake Course of the Olympic Club, the first was in 1955 and also ended in a playoff. The U.S. Open returned in 1987, 1998, and 2012; all three were won by one stroke.

Past champions in the field[edit]

Made the cut[edit]

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 R3 R4 Total To par Finish
Billy Casper  United States 1959 69 68 73 68 278 −2 1
Arnold Palmer  United States 1960 71 66 70 71 278 −2 2
Jack Nicklaus  United States 1962 71 71 69 74 285 +5 3
Ben Hogan  United States 1948, 1950,
1951, 1953
72 73 76 70 291 +11 12
Gary Player  South Africa 1965 78 72 74 69 293 +13 T15
Julius Boros  United States 1952, 1963 74 69 77 74 294 +14 T17
Ken Venturi  United States 1964 73 77 71 73 294 +14 T17
Gene Littler  United States 1961 68 83 72 78 301 +21 T48

Missed the cut[edit]

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 Total To par
Jack Fleck  United States 1955 79 74 153 +13
Ed Furgol  United States 1954 78 77 155 +15
Cary Middlecoff  United States 1949, 1956 77 WD

Source:[9]

Round summaries[edit]

First round[edit]

Thursday, June 16, 1966

Place Player Country Score To par
1 Al Mengert  United States 67 −3
T2 Don Massengale  United States 68 −2
Gene Littler  United States
4 Billy Casper  United States 69 −1
T5 Phil Rodgers  United States 70 E
Kel Nagle  Australia
Doug Sanders  United States
Johnny Miller (a)  United States
T9 Arnold Palmer  United States 71 +1
Jack Nicklaus  United States
Tony Lema  United States
Dave Marr  United States
Bob Goalby  United States
Wes Ellis  United States
Tom Nieporte  United States

Source:[10]

Second round[edit]

Friday, June 17, 1966

The grouping of Jack Nicklaus, Tony Lema, and Bruce Devlin was instructed to speed up by a USGA official and Nicklaus promptly made four consecutive bogeys.[11] They had been in the rough often early in the round and finished in less than four and a half hours, but nearly an hour longer than others.[12]

Place Player Country Score To par
T1 Billy Casper  United States 69-68=137 −3
Arnold Palmer  United States 71-66=137
T3 Phil Rodgers  United States 70-70=140 E
Rives McBee  United States 76-64=140
T5 Jack Nicklaus  United States 71-71=142 +2
Johnny Miller (a)  United States 70-72=142
T7 Julius Boros  United States 74-69=143 +3
Dave Hill  United States 72-71=143
Kel Nagle  Australia 70-73=143
T10 Bob Goalby  United States 71-73=144 +4
Al Mengert  United States 67-77=144

Source:[9][12]

Third round[edit]

Saturday, June 18, 1966

Place Player Country Score To par
1 Arnold Palmer  United States 71-66-70=207 −3
2 Billy Casper  United States 69-68-73=210 E
3 Jack Nicklaus  United States 71-71-69=211 +1
T4 Phil Rodgers  United States 70-70-73=213 +3
Dave Marr  United States 71-74-68=213
6 Rives McBee  United States 76-64-74=214 +2
T7 Tony Lema  United States 71-74-70=215 +5
Bob Goalby  United States 71-73-71=215
Al Mengert  United States 67-77-71=215
10 Johnny Miller (a)  United States 70-72-74=216 +6

Source:[13]

Final round[edit]

Sunday, June 19, 1966

Palmer began the final round with a three-stroke lead over Casper, his partner in the final pairing. Palmer shot 32 (−3) on the front nine and with Casper's 36, the lead was seven strokes at the turn. With his eye on Hogan's U.S. Open scoring record of 276 in 1948, Palmer needed to shoot just 36 (+1) on the back nine for 275. But after the turn, his game quickly unravelled; he bogeyed 10, rebounded with a birdie at 12, but bogeyed 13. At the par-3 15th, Casper made birdie and Palmer missed a par putt, dropping the lead to just three. After another birdie-bogey swing at the par-5 16th, Palmer's lead completely disappeared with another bogey at 17. Palmer needed a difficult up-and-down from the rough for par just to force a playoff. Palmer shot 39 (+4) on the inward nine, Casper 32 (−3), and the two tied at 278 (−2), seven strokes ahead of solo third-place finisher Jack Nicklaus, the 1962 champion. The Bay Area's affable Tony Lema tied for fourth; tragically, he and his wife were killed in a plane crash a month later. Four-time champion Hogan, age 53, shot even par in the a final round to finish alone in 12th place and received a standing ovation from the thousands on the hillside overlooking the 18th green.[14]

Place Player Country Score To par Money ($)
T1 Billy Casper  United States 69-68-73-68=278 −2 Playoff
Arnold Palmer  United States 71-66-70-71=278
3 Jack Nicklaus  United States 71-71-69-74=285 +5 9,000
T4 Tony Lema  United States 71-74-70-71=286 +6 6,500
Dave Marr  United States 71-74-68-73=286
6 Phil Rodgers  United States 70-70-73-74=287 +7 5,000
7 Bobby Nichols  United States 74-72-71-72=289 +9 4,000
T8 Wes Ellis  United States 71-75-74-70=290 +10 2,800
Doug Sanders  United States 70-75-74-71=290
Mason Rudolph  United States 74-72-71-73=290
Johnny Miller (a)  United States 70-72-74-74=290 0
(a) denotes amateur

Source:[5]

Scorecard[edit]

Hole  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Par 5 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 3 5 4 4
United States Casper E E +1 E +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 E E E −1 −2 −2 −2
United States Palmer −4 −5 −5 −5 −5 −4 −5 −5 −6 −5 −5 −6 −5 −5 −4 −3 −2 −2

Cumulative tournament scores, relative to par
Source:[14][15]

Playoff[edit]

Monday, June 20, 1966

The 18-hole playoff proved similar to the final round, with a Monday gallery of 12,000 under sunny skies.[4] Palmer took a two-stroke lead to the back nine, only to fall apart once again. The pair halved 10 and 11, but Casper birdied 12 and Palmer bogeyed to even up the playoff with six holes remaining. Palmer bogeyed 14 and 15, then double-bogeyed the par-5 16th. Casper finished with a one-under 69, four strokes ahead of Palmer, who shot a 40 (+5) on the back nine. For Palmer, it marked his third loss in as many playoffs at the U.S. Open (1962, 1963, and 1966).[4][7]

Place Player Country Score To par Money ($)
1 Billy Casper  United States 35-34=69 −1 26,500
2 Arnold Palmer  United States 33-40=73 +3 14,000
  • Included in earnings is a playoff bonus of $1,500 each, from the playoff gate receipts.[7]

Scorecard[edit]

Hole  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Par 5 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 3 5 4 4
United States Casper E E E E +1 +1 E −1 E E E −1 −2 −2 −2 −1 E −1
United States Palmer E E E −1 −1 −1 −2 −2 −2 −2 −2 −1 −1 E +1 +3 +3 +3

Source:[4][7][16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grimsley, Will (June 17, 1966). "Mengert takes Open lead with great first round 67". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. p. 24. 
  2. ^ "U.S. Open history: 1966". USGA. Retrieved June 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Wright, Alfred (June 27, 1966). "At Olympic: a summit of drama". Sports Illustrated: 22. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Casper coolly collects 2nd U.S. Open". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 21, 1966. p. 12. 
  5. ^ a b "No decision (final round scores)". Toledo Blade. Associated Press. June 20, 1966. p. 20. 
  6. ^ Winstein, Bill (June 16, 1966). "Unkindest cut". Pittsburgh Press. p. 40. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Casper wallops Palmer in playoff, 69-73". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 21, 1966. p. 20. 
  8. ^ Sixty, Billy (June 16, 1966). "Expensive Day". Milwaukee Journal. p. 17. 
  9. ^ a b "U.S. Open scores (Second round)". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 19, 1966. p. 1-sports. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Open scores (First round)". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 17, 1966. p. 24. 
  11. ^ "Feud over, says Jack, after 69". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. June 19, 1966. p. 3B. 
  12. ^ a b "'Brute' Palmer, Casper deadlocked in U.S. Open". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. June 18, 1966. p. 3B. 
  13. ^ "Open scores". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. June 19, 1966. p. 3B. 
  14. ^ a b "Hot Casper catches Arnie to throw Open into playoff". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 20, 1966. p. 10. 
  15. ^ "Leaders' cards". Montreal Gazette. Associated Press. June 20, 1966. p. 33. 
  16. ^ "Playoff score cards". Montreal Gazette. Associated Press. June 21, 1966. p. 30. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
1966 Masters
Major Championships Succeeded by
1966 Open Championship

Coordinates: 37°42′32″N 122°29′42″W / 37.709°N 122.495°W / 37.709; -122.495