Tag Archives: U.S. Open

U.S. Open: Can an international golfer win for the third straight year?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Jim Furyk at the 2008 Players Championship

Jim Furyk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The final round of the 118th U.S. Open tees off today at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. American Jim Furyk and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell go into the final round tied for the lead at one-under-par.

Here’s a couple of stats to whet your appetite for today’s final round.

* First, can you answer this trivia question? What three countries have placed the most golfers in the top 10 of the U.S. Open in the last 25 years? You’re probably pretty sure you know one of the three countries, but if you can correctly name the countries that ranked second and third, you’ve aced the test.

The answer: The United States, England and South Africa.

Of the 12 players who currently make up the Top 10 (and ties) after the third round, there are seven Americans and five international players. The international contingent has won the last two U.S. Opens and six of the last eight. In this century, there have been only three Americans that have won this tournament: Tiger Woods (twice), Jim Furyk and Lucas Glover.

Following are the countries that have placed the most golfers in the top 10 of the U.S. Open in the last 25 tournaments.

United States: 69

England: 11

South Africa: 9

Australia: 7

Canada: 7

Spain: 6

Sweden: 6

Note: In the last five (2007-2011) U.S. Opens, the U.S. has placed 29 golfers in the top 10, followed by England with six and Sweden with five.

* Finally, in looking at the last 25 U.S. Opens, in how many of those tournaments has the eventual winner been in the lead or tied for the lead after the third round? The answer: 48 percent. In 10 of the last 25 tourneys, the eventual champion led after three rounds, and in two tourneys the winner was tied for the lead going in to the final round.

Following are the scenarios of each winner in the past 25 U.S. Opens:

Winner was the leader after the third round: 10

Winner was tied for the lead after the third round: 2

Winner was one shot back after the third round: 5

Winner was two shots back after the third round: 1

Winner was three shots back after the third round: 3

Winner was four shots back after the third round: 3

Winner was five or more shots back after the third round: 1

Note: No golfer has come from more than five shots back on the final day to win the U.S. Open since 1987. The largest third round deficit was in 1998 when Lee Janzen came from five shots back after the third round to beat Payne Stewart by one stroke for his second title.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp


U.S. Open: Second Round is the key for the eventual winner!

111th U.S. Open Championship

(Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

There is good news and bad news for Michael Thompson

First the good news: In his very first U.S. Open, Thompson has the lead after the first round, and he leads by three shots.

The bad news: He is the first-round leader in the U.S. Open.

History has not been kind to first-round leaders in the U.S. Open. In fact, in the past 25 years, only five first-round leaders have gone on to win the tournament. Rory McIlroy was a wire-to-wire winner last year. The others: Tiger Woods, 2002; Retief Goosen, 2001; Tiger Woods, 2000; and Payne Stewart, 1991.

Speaking of Tiger, he is three shots back, tied for second place. Since 1987, 15 of the 25 men who won the event were in the Top 10 after the first round. Good news for Tiger… and about 13 other golfers.

Taking a look at the last 25 U.S. Open champions, we see that the second round is key to their tournament. In 12 of the 25 of the champions rounds, the second round was their lowest score of the four rounds. The first round was the lowest round for six champions; the third round was lowest round for two champs; and the fourth round was the lowest round for one champion. For four champions, their lowest round was a tie between two different rounds (for the record, the second round was tied in three of those four, meaning that 15 of the 25 champions had their lowest round or tied for the lowest round on Day 2 of the tournament).

Following is a look at which rounds the last 25 champions had the best average round from 1987-2011.

Average score per round of champion in last 25 U.S. Opens

First Round: 69.44

Second Round: 68.04

Third Round: 70.48

Fourth Round: 70.36

(A note of interest: Did you notice that the average first-round score of the eventual winner was 69.44? Tiger shot 69 yesterday! I’m just saying.)

The U.S. Open winner from 1987-2011 (25 champions) scored lower in the second round over the first round in 14 of the 25 years (the champion shot the same score in both first and second rounds in one year). In 11 of those 14 second rounds, the score was at least three strokes lower than Round One.

Here’s a look at which round the last 25 U.S. Open champions had the most rounds in the 60’s.

Rounds in the 60s

First Round: 12

Second Round: 18

Third Round: 9

Fourth Round: 11

Did you know? Only two U.S. Open champions in the last 25 years has shot in the 60s in each of their four rounds. Rory McIlroy did it last year with 65-66-68 and 69 on the way to his eight-stroke victory, and Lee Janzen had four rounds in the 60s when he shot 67-67-69-69 in his two-stroke win over Payne Stewart in 1993.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp