1976 U.S. Open (golf)

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1976 U.S. Open
Tournament information
Dates June 17–20, 1976
Location Duluth, Georgia
Course(s) Atlanta Athletic Club,
Highlands Course
Organized by USGA
Tour(s) PGA Tour
Statistics
Par 70
Length 7,015 yards (6,415 m)[1]
Field 150, 66 after cut
Cut 151 (+11)
Prize fund $253,000[2]
Winner's share $42,000
Champion
United States Jerry Pate
277 (−3)
Atlanta AC is located in the US
Atlanta AC
Atlanta AC
Location in the United States

The 1976 U.S. Open was the 76th U.S. Open, held June 17–20 at the Highlands Course of the Atlanta Athletic Club in Duluth, Georgia, a suburb northeast of Atlanta. Tour rookie Jerry Pate won his only major championship, two strokes ahead of runners-up Al Geiberger and Tom Weiskopf.[3][4][5][6]

John Mahaffey, who lost the U.S. Open in a playoff the year before, took the lead with a 68 in the second round. He followed that up with a 69 in the third round on Saturday for a two-stroke lead over Jerry Pate after 54 holes, with Geiberger three back and Weiskopf four back.[7] The gap was still two strokes after fourteen holes, but Pate hit a one-iron close and birdied the par-3 15th;[8] and when Mahaffey bogeyed 16, the two were tied. Mahaffey three-putted for bogey on 17 and Pate took a one-stroke lead as Mahaffey fell into a tie for second with Geiberger and Weiskopf, both in the clubhouse with 279.

Both Mahaffey and Pate found the rough off the 18th tee. Mahaffey, behind by a shot and trying for birdie, hit his approach shot into the water fronting the green and made bogey, and fell into a tie for fourth. Having a better lie in the rough, Pate gambled that he could clear the water and then hit one of the most memorable shots in U.S. Open history. His 5-iron approach from 191 yards (175 m) flew directly on to the green and stopped three feet (0.9 m) from the hole, and he made the birdie putt for a two-stroke victory.[5][9]

The U.S. Amateur champion two years earlier in 1974, Pate was only 22 in 1976 and appeared to have a bright future ahead of him, but shoulder injuries significantly shortened his career. He won seven more PGA Tour tournaments, the last in 1982, and finished runner-up in two additional majors in the late 1970s.

Future champion Fuzzy Zoeller made his major championship debut at this U.S. Open and finished in 38th place. Mike Reid, a 21-year-old amateur, led by three shots after the first round, but a second-round 81 dashed any hope of an amateur champion. He shared low-amateur honors with John Fought at 300 (+20).

Jack Nicklaus finished tied for eleventh and saw his streak of 13 consecutive top-10s in majors come to an end. He began a new streak and finished in the top-10 in the next nine majors. Only Harry Vardon made more consecutive major top-10s when he made sixteen in a row – fifteen Open Championships (18941908) and the U.S. Open in 1900.

This was the first of four majors held at the Highlands Course; it hosted the PGA Championship in 1981, 2001, and 2011.

This was the first year that players were allowed to have their own caddies at the U.S. Open.[10][11] The other majors and some PGA Tour events had traditionally disallowed players from using their own caddies.[12][13][14] The Masters required club caddies from Augusta National through 1982.[15][16][17]

Course layout[edit]

Atlanta Athletic Club, Highlands Course

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Yards 455 450 460 205 540 440 175 420 415 3,560 370 480 510 390 415 215 410 205 460 3,455 7,015
Par 4 4 4 3 5 4 3 4 4 35 4 4 5 4 4 3 4 3 4 35 70

Source:[1]

Past champions in the field[edit]

Made the cut[edit]

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 R3 R4 Total To par Finish
Johnny Miller  United States 1973 74 72 69 71 286 +6 10
Jack Nicklaus  United States 1962, 1967, 1972 74 70 75 68 287 +7 T11
Gary Player  South Africa 1965 72 77 73 70 292 +12 T23
Hale Irwin  United States 1974 75 72 75 71 293 +13 T26
Lou Graham  United States 1975 75 74 72 73 294 +14 T28
Gene Littler  United States 1961 76 75 71 78 300 +20 T50
Arnold Palmer  United States 1960 75 75 75 75 300 +20 T50

Missed the cut[edit]

Player Country Years won R1 R2 Total To par
Billy Casper  United States 1959, 1966 81 77 158 +18

Source:[6][18]

Round summaries[edit]

First round[edit]

Thursday, June 17, 1976

Amateur Mike Reid, age 21, grabbed the first round lead with a three-under 67, while the rest of the field posted no better than par. Several professionals voiced their concerns over the playing conditions of the course.[3][19][20]

Place Player Country Score To par
1 Mike Reid (a)  United States 67 −3
T2 Raymond Floyd  United States 70 E
Rod Funseth  United States
Al Geiberger  United States
John Mahaffey  United States
Rik Massengale  United States
T7 Butch Baird  United States 71 +1
Terry Diehl  United States
Don January  United States
Lyn Lott  United States
Mike Morley  United States
Jerry Pate  United States

Source:[21]

Second round[edit]

Friday, June 18, 1976

John Mahaffey shot a 68 and grabbed the lead, while amateur Reid fell into a tie for 32nd place with an 81.[22][23]

Place Player Country Score To par
1 John Mahaffey  United States 70-68=138 −2
2 Al Geiberger  United States 70-69=139 −1
T3 Ben Crenshaw  United States 72-68=140 E
Rod Funseth  United States 70-70=140
Jerry Pate  United States 71-69=140
T6 Butch Baird  United States 71-71=142 +2
Hubert Green  United States 72-70=142
Lyn Lott  United States 71-71=142
Mike Morley  United States 71-71=142
J. C. Snead  United States 73-69=142

Source:[22]

Third round[edit]

Saturday, June 19, 1976

Mahaffey kept the lead with a 69, two strokes ahead of Pate, with Al Geiberger and Tom Weiskopf in third and fourth place. After nine holes, Mahaffey opened up a six-stroke lead but struggled on the back nine and, with Pate making a remarkable eagle on 12, the lead was cut to two when the day ended.[24]

Place Player Country Score To par
1 John Mahaffey  United States 70-68-69=207 −3
2 Jerry Pate  United States 71-69-69=209 −1
3 Al Geiberger  United States 70-69-71=210 E
4 Tom Weiskopf  United States 73-70-68=211 +1
T5 Ben Crenshaw  United States 72-68-72=212 +2
Rod Funseth  United States 70-70-72=212
Lyn Lott  United States 71-71-70=212
Mike Morley  United States 71-71-70=212
T9 Butch Baird  United States 71-71-71=213 +3
Hubert Green  United States 72-70-71=213
J. C. Snead  United States 73-69-71=213

Source:[24]

Final round[edit]

Sunday, June 20, 1976

Place Player Country Score To par Money ($)
1 Jerry Pate  United States 71-69-69-68=277 −3 42,000
T2 Al Geiberger  United States 70-69-71-69=279 −1 18,000
Tom Weiskopf  United States 73-70-68-68=279
T4 Butch Baird  United States 71-71-71-67=280 E 11,250
John Mahaffey  United States 70-68-69-73=280
6 Hubert Green  United States 72-70-71-69=282 +2 9,500
7 Tom Watson  United States 74-72-68-70=284 +4 8,500
T8 Ben Crenshaw  United States 72-68-72-73=285 +5 7,000
Lyn Lott  United States 71-71-70-73=285
10 Johnny Miller  United States 74-72-69-71=286 +6 5,500

Source:[6][18]

Scorecard[edit]

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

Cumulative tournament scores, relative to par

Eagle Birdie Bogey Double bogey Triple bogey+

Source:[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "76th U.S. Open: course". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 17, 1976. p. 14. 
  2. ^ "U.S. Open history: 1976". USGA. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Jenkins, Dan (June 28, 1976). "You were great, Jerry Pate". Sports Illustrated. p. 18. 
  4. ^ a b Husar, John (June 21, 1976). "Rookie Pate beats odds, wins Open". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, sec. 6. 
  5. ^ a b Parascenzo, Marino (June 21, 1976). "Tour rookie Pate charges to victory". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 13. 
  6. ^ a b c "Pate decides 'to go for it,' charges to victory in Open". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. June 21, 1976. p. 2B. 
  7. ^ Warters, Jim (June 20, 1976). "Mahaffey manages 2-shot lead". Palm Beach Post. p. E1. 
  8. ^ Thomson, Ian (August 11, 2011). "Jerry Pate has a fond recollection of his 1976 U.S. Open victory at site of this week's PGA". Birmingham News. (Alabama). Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  9. ^ Warters, Jim (June 21, 1976). "Rookie Pate captures U.S. Open". Palm Beach Post. p. D1. 
  10. ^ "Open golfers to pick own caddies in 1976". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. November 15, 1975. p. 17. 
  11. ^ "Break for some". Rome News-Tribune. (Georgia). Associated Press. January 18, 1976. p. 3B. 
  12. ^ Loomis, Tom (April 6, 1973). "Chi Chi prefers own caddy". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. p. 30. 
  13. ^ "Westchester winner may bypass events". Victoria Advocate. (Texas). Associated Press. August 26, 1974. p. 1B. 
  14. ^ "Touring golf pros prefer their own caddies". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. May 5, 1974. p. 76. 
  15. ^ "Tour caddies at Augusta?". Times-News. (Hendersonville, North Carolina). November 12, 1982. p. 14. 
  16. ^ Wade, Harless (April 6, 1983). "Tradition bagged at Masters". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. C1. 
  17. ^ Anderson, Dave (April 10, 1983). "New Masters caddies collide". Sunday Star-News. (Wilmington, North Carolina). p. 6D. 
  18. ^ a b "1976 U.S. Open". databasegolf.com. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Amateur grabs lead while pros air gripes". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. June 18, 1976. p. 2D. 
  20. ^ "Mike Reid tops Open". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. June 18, 1976. p. 25. 
  21. ^ "A surprising pacesetter". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. June 18, 1976. p. 2D. 
  22. ^ a b "'Chicken' Mahaffey turns tiger in Open". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. June 19, 1976. p. 1B. 
  23. ^ "Reid falls from U.S. Open pace". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). Associated Press. June 19, 1976. p. 1D. 
  24. ^ a b "Mahaffey up by two after battling darkness". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. June 20, 1976. p. 1B. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
1976 Masters
Major Championships Succeeded by
1976 Open Championship

Coordinates: 34°00′14″N 84°11′35″W / 34.004°N 84.193°W / 34.004; -84.193