1931 U.S. Open (golf)

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1931 U.S. Open
Tournament information
Dates July 2–6, 1931
Location Toledo, Ohio
Course(s) Inverness Club
Organized by USGA
Tour(s) PGA Tour
Format Stroke play − 72 holes
Statistics
Par 71[1]
Length 6,529 yards (5,970 m)[2]
Field 144 players,[3] 62 after cut
Cut 158 (+16)
Prize fund $6,000
Winner's share $1,750
(incl. $750 playoff bonus)[4]
Champion
United States Billy Burke
292 (+8), playoff
Toledo is located in the US
Toledo
Toledo
Location in the United States
Toledo is located in Ohio
Toledo
Toledo
Location in Ohio

The 1931 U.S. Open was the 35th U.S. Open, held July 2–6 at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Billy Burke won his only major title, defeating George Von Elm in a marathon 72-hole playoff, the longest in tournament history.[5][6][7]

Von Elm, the 1926 U.S. Amateur champion, held the 54-hole lead at 217 after rounds of 75-69-73. Burke, playing just ahead of Von Elm in the final round, carded a 73 and a 292 total. Von Elm bogeyed 12, 14, 15, and 16, and needed a birdie at 18 to force a 36-hole playoff on Sunday.[8][9]

In the playoff, Von Elm and Burke were still tied after 36 holes, with Von Elm making a birdie on the 36th to extend it.[10][11] In the era prior to sudden-death, 36-hole playoffs were required to break ties, so another was held the following day.

In the morning round, Von Elm shot a 76 and led by a stroke, but Burke took the lead late in the afternoon round at the 32nd and extended it to two strokes at the 34th. A bogey on the final hole narrowed Burke's victory margin to one stroke, 148 to Von Elm's 149.[12][13] Burke reportedly smoked 32 cigars during the tournament, and quipped afterwards: "George Von Elm lost 15 pounds (7 kg). I gained three."

Following this tournament, the USGA reduced the length of all future playoffs to 18 holes, which remains the format to the present day. A second playoff round was played in 1939 and 1946. Sudden-death after 18 holes was added in the 1950s, but was not needed until 1990, and was used again 1994 and 2008.

Leo Diegel made a hole-in-one during the second round, only the third in U.S. Open history and first since 1922. He missed the playoff by two strokes and finished in third place. Low-amateur went to Philip Perkins, who finished in a tie for seventh. Three-time British Open champion Henry Cotton played the first of two U.S. Open appearances this year, missing the cut. Defending champion Bobby Jones retired from competition in 1930 and did not compete.

This was the second U.S. Open at Inverness, which hosted eleven years earlier in 1920. It later hosted in 1957 and 1979, and the PGA Championship in 1986 and 1993.

Course layout[edit]

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Yards 392 388 146 431 430 350 316 210 492 3,155 348 380 516 146 416 441 398 404 325 3,374 6,529
Par 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 5 35 4 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 4 36 71

Source:[2][14]

Past champions in the field[edit]

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 R3 R4 Total To par Finish
Gene Sarazen  United States 1922 74 78 74 70 296 +12 T4
Walter Hagen  United States 1914, 1919 74 74 73 76 297 +13 T7
Johnny Farrell  United States 1928 78 70 79 72 299 +15 T10
Tommy Armour  Scotland
 United States
1927 75 83 79 78 315 +31 T46

Source:[8][15]

  • All former champions in the field made the cut

Round summaries[edit]

First round[edit]

Thursday, July 2, 1931

Place Player Country Score To par
T1 Herman Barron  United States 71 E
Mortie Dutra  United States
Charles Guest  United States
Eddie Williams  United States
5 Al Espinosa  United States 72 +1
T6 Billy Burke  United States 73 +2
Henry Ciuci  United States
Bill Davies  England
Guy Paulsen  United States
Fred Robson  England
Joe Turnesa  United States
Frank Walsh  United States

Source:[16]

Second round[edit]

Friday, July 3, 1931

Place Player Country Score To par
1 George Von Elm  United States 75-69=144 +2
T2 Billy Burke  United States 73-72=145 +3
Eddie Williams  United States 71-74=145
T4 Herman Barron  United States 71-75=146 +4
Charles Guest  United States 71-75=146
Guy Paulsen  United States 74-72=146
Macdonald Smith  Scotland
 United States
73-73=146
T8 Leo Diegel  United States 75-73=148 +6
Mortie Dutra  United States 71-77=148
Johnny Farrell  United States 78-70=148
Walter Hagen  United States 74-74=148
Joe Turnesa  United States 73-75=148

Source:[15]

Third round[edit]

Saturday, July 4, 1931 (morning)

Place Player Country Score To par
1 George Von Elm  United States 75-69-73=217 +4
2 Billy Burke  United States 73-72-74=219 +6
3 Guy Paulsen  United States 74-72-74=220 +7
T4 Mortie Dutra  United States 71-77-73=221 +8
Walter Hagen  United States 74-74-73=221
Macdonald Smith  Scotland
 United States
73-73-75=221
T7 Leo Diegel  United States 75-73-74=222 +9
Charles Guest  United States 71-75-76=222
T9 Wiffy Cox  United States 76-74-74=224 +11
Herman Barron  United States 71-75-78=224

Source:[8][9][11]

Final round[edit]

Saturday, July 4, 1931 (afternoon)

Place Player Country Score To par Money ($)
T1 Billy Burke  United States 73-72-74-73=292 +8 Playoff
George Von Elm  United States 75-69-73-75=292
3 Leo Diegel  United States 75-73-74-72=294 +10 650
T4 Wiffy Cox  United States 76-74-74-72=296 +12 450
Bill Mehlhorn  United States 77-73-75-71=296
Gene Sarazen  United States 74-78-74-70=296
T7 Mortie Dutra  United States 71-77-73-76=297 +13 200
Walter Hagen  United States 74-74-73-76=297
Philip Perkins (a)  England 78-76-73-70=297 0
T10 Al Espinosa  United States 72-78-75-74=299 +15 105
Johnny Farrell  United States 78-70-79-72=299
Macdonald Smith  Scotland
 United States
73-73-75-78=299
(a) denotes amateur

Source:[8][9][11]

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 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 5 4 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 4
United States Burke +7 +7 +7 +8 +8 +8 +8 +7 +7 +7 +7 +7 +7 +8 +8 +8 +8 +8
United States Von Elm +3 +3 +3 +4 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 +8 +9 +9 +8

Cumulative tournament scores, relative to par
Source:[17]

Playoff[edit]

First playoff[edit]

Sunday, July 5, 1931

Player Country Score To par
Billy Burke  United States 73-76=149 +7
George Von Elm  United States 75-74=149 +7

Source:[11]

Scorecards[edit]

Morning round

Hole  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Par 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 5 4 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 4
United States Burke E +1 +2 +2 +2 +2 +1 +1 E +1 +1 E E E E E +1 +2
United States Von Elm E -1 E +2 +4 +4 +3 +3 +3 +3 +3 +2 +3 +3 +3 +4 +4 +4

Afternoon round

Hole  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Par 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 5 4 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 4
United States Burke +3 +3 +4 +5 +5 +6 +7 +8 +7 +7 +7 +7 +7 +6 +7 +7 +7 +7
United States Von Elm +4 +6 +7 +7 +9 +8 +7 +6 +5 +6 +6 +6 +6 +6 +8 +8 +8 +7

Source:[18]

Second playoff[edit]

Monday, July 6, 1931

Place Player Country Score To par Money ($)
1 Billy Burke  United States 77-71=148 +6 1,750
2 George Von Elm  United States 76-73=149 +7 1,000
  • Playoff bonus is included: $750 to champion, $250 to runner-up[4]

Scorecards[edit]

Morning round

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

Afternoon round

Hole  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Par 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 5 4 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 4
United States Burke +6 +5 +5 +4 +5 +5 +6 +5 +5 +5 +5 +4 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5 +6
United States Von Elm +5 +5 +5 +6 +6 +6 +6 +7 +6 +5 +5 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 +7 +7

Source:[5][14][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Leaders' cards". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 3, 1931. p. 15. 
  2. ^ a b Gould, Alan (July 3, 1931). "Four outsiders lead in U.S. Open golf at Toledo". Montreal Gazette. Associated Press. p. 13. 
  3. ^ Bartlett, Charles (July 2, 1931). "144 start play today for Jones' U.S. Open crown". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 32. 
  4. ^ a b "Bonus given Burke, Von Elm for fine play". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 7, 1931. p. 14. 
  5. ^ a b Rice, Grantland (July 7, 1931). "Burke beats Von Elm for title by 1 stroke". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1, sports. 
  6. ^ "Burke's work on green wins Open title". Pittsburgh Press. July 7, 1931. p. 18. 
  7. ^ McCabe, Jim (June 13, 2011). "The epic battle of the 1931 U.S. Open". Golfweek. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d Bartlett, Charles (July 5, 1931). "Burke's 292 ties Von Elm for Open title". Chicago Sunday Tribune. p. 1, part 2. 
  9. ^ a b c Rice, Grantland (July 5, 1931). "Von Elam and Burke tie in National Open meet". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1, sports. 
  10. ^ Bartlett, Charles (July 6, 1931). "Von Elm, Burke tie at 149 in Open golf playoff". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 29. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Von Elm, Burke all square in Open playoff". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 6, 1931. p. 1. 
  12. ^ Bartlett, Charles (July 7, 1931). "Burke defeats Von Elm; king of U.S. golf". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1. 
  13. ^ "Burke wins National Open golfing crown". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 7, 1931. p. 1. 
  14. ^ a b "Hole-by-hole account of Von Elm-Burke match". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 7, 1931. p. 14. 
  15. ^ a b Bartlett, Charles (July 4, 1931). "Von Elm breaks par to lead U.S. Open". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 11. 
  16. ^ Bartlett, Charles (July 3, 1931). "Four pros shoot par 71 for lead in U.S. Open". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 19. 
  17. ^ "Leaders' scores". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. July 5, 1931. p. 1, sports. 
  18. ^ "Play-off cards". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 6, 1931. p. 15. 
  19. ^ "The cards". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 7, 1931. p. 14. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°39′07″N 83°39′04″W / 41.652°N 83.651°W / 41.652; -83.651