1981 U.S. Open (golf)

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1981 U.S. Open
Tournament information
Dates June 18–21, 1981
Location Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Course(s) Merion Golf Club
East Course
Tour(s) PGA Tour
Statistics
Par 70
Length 6,544 yards (5,984 m)[1]
Field 156 players, 70 after cut
Cut 147 (+7)
Prize fund $361,730
Winner's share $55,000
Champion
Australia David Graham
273 (–7)
Merion GC is located in United States
Merion GC
Merion GC
Location in the United States

The 1981 U.S. Open was the 81st U.S. Open, held June 18–21 at the East Course of Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, a suburb northwest of Philadelphia. David Graham won his second major title and became the first Australian to win the U.S. Open, three strokes ahead of runners-up George Burns and Bill Rogers.[1][2][3]

After a first round 66, Jim Thorpe made history as the African-American since 1896 to lead the U.S. Open.[4] Burns took a two-stroke lead over Graham with a 66 in the second round, then increased his lead to three strokes after 54 holes.

In the final round on Sunday, Graham shot one of the most precise rounds in U.S. Open history. He hit every green in regulation, missed just one fairway, and recorded four birdies, missing several other opportunities from within 10 feet (3 m). The only bogey was a three-putt at the fifth, after his approach shot stopped above the hole.[5] After a string of eight pars, Graham finally passed Burns with birdies at the 14th and 15th holes. Graham carded a 67 to Burns' 73 to win by three strokes. Rogers shot 69 to tie Burns for 2nd and won the British Open four weeks later.

This was the fourth U.S. Open played at Merion, all at its East Course. Previous editions were hosted in 1934, 1950, and 1971. At 6,544 yards (5,984 m),[1] the same length as 1971, it was the shortest U.S. Open course since 1947. With heavy rains softening the course before the tournament, 93 rounds of par 70 or better were recorded. Sixteen players were under par after 36 holes, but only five finished under par for the four rounds. Five more were at even par 280, including defending champion Jack Nicklaus, a four-time winner.

After 1981, the U.S. Open was not played at Merion for over three decades. It is scheduled to return to the East Course in 2013 at just under 7,000 yards (6,400 m), again at par 70.

Course layout[edit]

East Course

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Yards 355 535 183 600 426 420 350 360 195 3,424 312 370 405 129 414 378 430 224 458 3,120 6,544
Par 4 5 3 5 4 4 4 4 3 36 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 4 34 70

Source:[6]

Lengths of the course for previous U.S. Opens:

  • 1971: 6,544 yards (5,984 m), par 70
  • 1950: 6,694 yards (6,121 m), par 70
  • 1934: 6,694 yards (6,121 m), par 70

Past champions in the field[edit]

Made the cut[edit]

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 R3 R4 Total To par Finish
Jack Nicklaus  United States 1962, 1967,
1972, 1980
69 68 71 72 280 E T6
Johnny Miller  United States 1973 69 71 73 72 285 +5 T23
Gary Player  South Africa 1965 72 72 71 71 286 +6 T26
Jerry Pate  United States 1976 70 69 72 75 286 +6 T26
Hubert Green  United States 1977 69 76 71 72 288 +8 T37
Andy North  United States 1978 73 74 72 71 290 +10 T43
Hale Irwin  United States 1974, 1979 72 75 73 72 292 +12 T58

Missed the cut[edit]

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 Total To par
Lee Trevino  United States 1968, 1971 72 76 148 +8
Lou Graham  United States 1975 76 74 150 +10
Arnold Palmer  United States 1960 77 78 155 +15

Round summaries[edit]

First round[edit]

Thursday, June 18, 1981

Place Player Country Score To par
1 Jim Thorpe  United States 66 –4
2 J. C. Snead  United States 67 –3
T3 Bob Ackerman  United States 68 –2
John Cook  United States
David Graham  Australia
Jack Renner  United States
Chi-Chi Rodríguez  United States
T8 George Burns  United States 69 –1
Rex Caldwell  United States
Hubert Green  United States
Lon Hinkle  United States
Billy Kratzert  United States
Johnny Miller  United States
Jack Nicklaus  United States
Tommy Valentine  United States

Second round[edit]

Friday, June 19, 1981

Place Player Country Score To par
1 George Burns  United States 69-66=135 –5
2 David Graham  Australia 68-68=136 –4
T3 Jack Nicklaus  United States 69-68=137 –3
Tommy Valentine  United States 69-68=137
T5 John Cook  United States 68-70=138 –2
Billy Kratzert  United States 69-69=138
Greg Norman  Australia 71-67=138
Bill Rogers  United States 70-68=138
T9 Jerry Pate  United States 70-69=139 –1
Jack Renner  United States 68-71=139
John Schroeder  United States 71-68=139
Scott Simpson  United States 72-67=139
Jim Thorpe  United States 66-73=139
Lanny Wadkins  United States 71-68=139
Tom Watson  United States 70-69=139

Amateurs: Rassett (E), Norton (+8), Pavin (+9), DeFrancesco (+10), White (+10), Sindelar (+11), Faxon (+12), Lawrence (+14), Sanchez (+14), Moore (+15), Mudd (+15), Yokoi (+15), Biancalana (+16), Jones (+16), Ludwig (+16), Magee (+17), Hurter (+21), Brodie (+22).

Third round[edit]

Saturday, June 20, 1981

Place Player Country Score To par
1 George Burns  United States 69-66-68=203 –7
2 David Graham  Australia 68-68-70=206 –4
3 Bill Rogers  United States 70-68-69=207 –3
T4 Jack Nicklaus  United States 69-68-71=208 –2
Chi-Chi Rodríguez  United States 68-73-67=208
John Schroeder  United States 71-68-69=208
T7 John Cook  United States 68-70-71=209 –1
Ben Crenshaw  United States 70-75-64=209
Jim Thorpe  United States 66-73-70=209
Tommy Valentine  United States 69-68-72=209

Final round[edit]

Sunday, June 21, 1981

Place Player Country Score To par Money ($)
1 David Graham  Australia 68-68-70-67=273 –7 55,000
T2 George Burns  United States 69-66-68-73=276 –4 24,650
Bill Rogers  United States 70-68-69-69=276
T4 John Cook  United States 68-70-71-70=279 –1 16,200
John Schroeder  United States 71-68-69-71=279
T6 Frank Conner  United States 71-72-69-68=280 E 9,920
Lon Hinkle  United States 69-71-70-70=280
Jack Nicklaus  United States 69-68-71-72=280
Sammy Rachels  United States 70-71-69-70=280
Chi-Chi Rodríguez  United States 68-73-67-72=280

Amateur: Rassett (+14).

Scorecard[edit]

Final round

Hole  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Par 4 5 3 5 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 4
Australia Graham –5 –6 –6 –6 –5 –5 –5 –5 –5 –5 –5 –5 –5 –6 –7 –7 –7 –7
United States Burns –7 –7 –7 –6 –6 –6 –6 –6 –6 –5 –5 –5 –5 –5 –5 –4 –5 –4
United States Rogers –3 –3 –3 –3 –3 –2 –2 –3 –4 –3 –3 –4 –4 –4 –4 –3 –3 –4

Source:[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Graham conquers Open crew". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 22, 1981. p. 17. 
  2. ^ Jenkins, Dan (June 29, 1981). "Graham didn't crack". Sports Illustrated. p. 18. 
  3. ^ Parascenzo, Marino (June 22, 1981). "Graham wins Open with 7-under". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 21. 
  4. ^ Lieber, Jill (June 19, 1981). "Thorpe makes his name known with 66 in Open". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1-part 2. 
  5. ^ Shedloski, Dave (May 14, 2013). "Looking Back...1981 U.S. Open at Merion". United States Golf Association. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Stat Sheet, Golf: U.S. Open yards and par". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 18, 1981. p. 28. 
  7. ^ "Scoreboard: U.S. Open leader cards". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 22, 1981. p. 26. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
1981 Masters
Major Championships Succeeded by
1981 Open Championship

Coordinates: 40°00′04″N 75°18′43″W / 40.001°N 75.312°W / 40.001; -75.312