Most US Open Golf Championships of All Time
The United States Open Championship — better known as the U.S. Open — has been the signature open tournament for the United States since 1895.
You can't make a list of the greatest golfers who ever lived or the greatest major championship wins of all time without the U.S. Open dotting the landscape. Played every year with the exception of a two-year break for World War I and a four-year break for World War II, golfers around the world have used the U.S. Open as a proving ground — a springboard to stardom.
Here's a look at the golfers with the most U.S. Open championships of all time.
7. Brooks Koepka – 2 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 2017, 2018
Bottom line: Brooks Koepka has an impressive two U.S. Open championship wins, tied with eight other golfers who achieved the same. But Koepka was a bit different. When he won the U.S. Open in back-to-back years in 2017 and 2018 and the PGA Championship in back-to-back years in 2018 and 2019, he became the first golfer to hold back-to-back titles in two different majors at the same time.
In 2022, Koepka decided to leave the PGA Tour to join the LIV Golf Tour for a deal worth a reported $100 million.
7. Retief Goosen – 2 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 2001, 2004
Bottom line: South African golfer Retief Goosen's first win on U.S. soil came at the 2001 U.S. Open when he held off Mark Brooks on a Monday 18-hole playoff.
Goosen returned in 2004 to win the U.S. Open again, this time with one of the greatest putting performances in golf history — he needed just 24 putts over 18 holes in the final round.
7. Lee Trevino – 2 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1968, 1971
Bottom line: One of the most popular, iconic golfers of all time, Lee Trevino is one of only four golfers to win the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship two times each.
Trevino was already 29 years old when his career went into the stratosphere after his first major championship at the U.S. Open in 1968, where he beat defending champion Jack Nicklaus by four strokes. Trevino returned in 1971 to beat Nicklaus once again, but this time in an 18-hole playoff.
7. Ernie Els – 2 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1994, 1997
Bottom line: South African golfer Ernie Els towered over most of his competition throughout his career — mainly because he's 6-foot-3 but also because he won four major championships and finished as the runner-up at The Masters twice.
Els' career was unusual in the time between his first and last major wins — he won his first major at the U.S. Open in 1994 and won his last major at the British Open 18 years later in 2012.
7. Curtis Strange – 2 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1988, 1989
Bottom line: Curtis Strange won his first U.S. Open in 1988 in a playoff against Nick Faldo, then returned in 1989 to win again with a one-stroke victory over three runner-ups.
These were the only two major championships of Strange's career. He finished as runner-up at the 1985 Masters and runner-up at the 1989 PGA Championship.
7. Lee Janzen – 2 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1993, 1998
Bottom line: The two major championships in Lee Janzen's career both came at the U.S. Open — he never finished higher than fourth at another major, which he did at the PGA Championship in 1997.
Janzen held off the same player down the stretch in both of his U.S. Open wins in 1993 and 1998 — fellow two-time U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart.
7. Walter Hagen – 2 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1914, 1919
Bottom line: Behind Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, Walter Hagen owns the third-most major championship wins with 11, including two at the U.S. Open.
Hagen, also known as "The Father of Professional Golf," was the first American to win the British Open and won the PGA Championship a record five times.
7. Payne Stewart – 2 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1991, 1999
Bottom line: It was sweet redemption for Payne Stewart in the 1999 U.S. Open, just one year after blowing a four-shot lead after 54 holes in the same tournament. In the final round, Stewart took the lead from Phil Mickelson on No. 16 before holding him off over the final two holes, capped by an iconic, 15-foot putt for the win on No. 18.
Stewart died four months later in a plane crash, at only 42 years old. His winning putt and celebration on No. 18 are depicted in a statue at Pinehurst.
7. Alex Smith – 2 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1906, 1910
Bottom line: After Alex Smith lost to Willie Anderson in a playoff at the 1901 U.S. Open, he bounced back five years later to win the first of two U.S. Open titles in 1906 — the winner's purse that year was $300.
Other Golfers Who Won the U.S. Open Twice
Before we move on to those golfers with three wins, we wanted to note that there were seven other players who are tied with two U.S. Open wins: John McDermott, Gene Sarazen, Ralph Guldahl, Cary Middlecuff, Julius Boros, Billy Casper (pictured) and Andy North.
For some of these golfers, winning the U.S. Open was the highlight of their careers. Others, like Sarazen and Casper, had other big wins at majors.
We didn't write extensively about these golfers because their golf careers are lesser-known and, honestly, less fun to write about. So, let's move on to someone who is...
5. Tiger Woods – 3 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 2000, 2002, 2008
Bottom line: The most dominating victory in the history of the major championships occurred at the 2000 U.S. Open when Tiger Woods won by 15 strokes. It was the first U.S. Open victory for Woods and came accompanied by a somber footnote — defending champion Payne Stewart died in a plane crash the previous October.
It was the first of four consecutive Major championship victories for Woods, making him the first golfer since Bobby Jones in 1930 to hold all four titles at once.
5. Hale Irwin – 3 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1974, 1979, 1990
Bottom line: Hale Irwin won three major championships in his career — all at the U.S. Open.
After Irwin's first two victories at the U.S. Open in the 1970s, Irwin made history in 1990 when he became the oldest winner of the U.S. Open at 45 years old. Irwin's backstory is actually pretty incredible — he was a two-time All-Big Eight defensive back at the University of Colorado before he won the NCAA championship in golf in 1967.
1. Ben Hogan – 4 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1948, 1950, 1951, 1953
Bottom line: Ben Hogan won the 1950 U.S. Open just 16 months after he fractured his pelvis, collarbone, ankle and ribs in a car accident — injuries so severe doctors were uncertain if he would walk again.
Hogan, swaddled in wraps from the hips down, carried a collapsible chair with him to rest on the course and scrapped his way into a playoff, toppling Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio for an improbable win.
1. Willie Anderson – 4 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1901, 1903-05
Bottom line: Willie Anderson won all four of his U.S. Open championships in a five-year span and is still the only golfer to win the U.S. Open in three consecutive years.
Anderson emigrated from Scotland to the U.S. in 1896, at 18 years old, and won his first U.S. Open three years later in 1901. Anderson played right up until a few days before his death in 1910, at 31 years old, which was first reported as an epileptic seizure, but golf historians have later written that Anderson drank himself to death.
1. Bobby Jones – 4 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1923, 1926, 1929, 1930
Bottom line: Bobby Jones was the only player in history to win a Grand Slam of the four major championships in the pre-Masters era, winning the U.S. Open, British Amateur, U.S. Amateur and British Open in 1930. It was also his fourth U.S. Open win in seven years.
In one of the great acts of sportsmanship in golf history, Jones called a penalty stroke on himself in the 1925 U.S. Open that cost him one stroke, which was how much Walter Hagen beat him by that year.
1. Jack Nicklaus – 4 Wins (Tie)
U.S. Open championships: 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980
Bottom line: Jack Nicklaus won a record 18 major championships over his storied career — more than any golfer who ever lived. His first came at the 1962 U.S. Open when he was just 22 years old.
Nicklaus won the U.S. Open for the last time 18 years later, in 1980, which was the same year he set scoring records at both the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship in his last two major wins. His most legendary and final major win would come six years later when he won The Masters for the sixth time, at 46 years old.
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