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Fuzzy Zoeller

Fuzzy Zoeller, 32, shot 67 and defeated Greg Norman in an 18-hole playoff. Norman shot 75. By shooting 276 for the 72 holes, Zoeller and Norman became the first men to be under par in four Opens played at Winged Foot Golf Club, in Mamaroneck, New York. Par is 280. The lowest previous score was 282 by Billy Casper in 1959. Norman and Zoeller finished five strokes in front of Curtis Strange of Kingsmill, Virginia, whose 69-70-74-68-281 would have won any previous Open at Winged Foot.

John Miller, the 1973 Open Champion and Jim Thorpe shared fourth at 282 while Hale Irwin, who led for most of the first three rounds, shot 79 on the final day and finished sixth at 284. In the first round 18 players bettered or equaled par. Irwin and Thorpe at 68 shared the lead with Hubert Green, the 1977 Champion and Mike Donald. Steve Ballesteros, Strange and Jay Sigel, 1982 and 1983 United States Amateur Champions were at 69, with Norman at par 70. Irwin, 39, added 68 and led after 36 holes with 136 but Zoeller shot 66, the lowest round ever during an Open at Winged Foot, to stand at 137. Norman had 68 for 138 along with David Canipe. Both Irwin and Zoeller shot 69 in the third round; Irwin led by a stroke at 205 and Norman and Thorpe had 207.

While Irwin and Thorpe faded in the fourth round, Zoeller and Norman pulled away. Zoeller holed consecutive birdie putts of 20, 22, 20 and 15 feet on the third through sixth holes, gaining five strokes on Irwin and, by then, only Norman and Zoeller were in contention. Zoeller led by three strokes with nine holes to play, but Norman pulled even at the 17th and saved par on the 18th by holing a 45-foot putt after hitting his approach into a grandstand and being given relief without penalty.

After both men birdied the first hole of the playoff, Zoeller birdied the second from 68 feet and gained three strokes when Norman made 6. Zoeller made the turn in 34 and led by five strokes - went ahead by seven on the 14th, by eight after 15 holes, and by nine after 16. Norman's birdie at 17 trimmed the margin to eight. Siegel, a contender for 36 holes and Richard Fehr were low amateurs. Arnold Palmer missed qualifying after playing in 31 consecutive Opens. He is tied with Gene Sarazen for the most consecutive Opens played. Prize money reached a record $596,925, with $95,000 going to Zoeller.


Starts - 22

Best Finish - Winner 1984

Rds -73

Cuts Made - 14

Top 3 - 1

Top 5 - 2

Top 10 - 5

Top 25 - 8

Avg. - 72.97

Scores In 60s - 13

Rds Under Par - 17

Earnings -$262,093.26
Historical Notes
On Oct. 4, 1895, the first U.S. Open Championship was conducted by the United States Golf Association on the nine-hole course of Newport (R.I.) Golf and Country Club.
The first U.S. Open was considered something of a sideshow to the first U.S. Amateur, which was played on the same course and during the same week. Both championships had been scheduled for September but were postponed because of a conflict with a more established Newport sports spectacle, the America's Cup yacht races.
Ten professionals and one amateur started in the 36-hole competition, which was four trips around the Newport course in one day. The surprise winner was Horace Rawlins, 21, an English professional who was the assistant at the host course. Rawlins scored 91-82-173 with the gutta-percha ball.
Prize money totalled $335, of which Rawlins won the $150 first prize. He also received a gold medal and custody of the Open Championship Cup for his club for one year.
In its first decade, the U.S. Open was conducted for amateurs and the largely British wave of immigrant golf professionals coming to the United States.
As American players began to dominate the game, the U.S. Open evolved into an important world golf championship. Young John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner in 1911 and repeated as champion in 1912.
In 1913, the U.S. Open really took off when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, stunned the golf world by defeating famous English professionals, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, in a playoff.
Another surge in the championship's popularity coincided with the amazing career of Georgia amateur Bob Jones, who won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930). Spectator tickets were sold for the first time in 1922 and a boom in entries caused the USGA to introduce sectional qualifying in 1924.
In 1933, John Goodman became the fifth and last amateur to win the U.S. Open. The others were Ouimet, Jerome D. Travers (1915), Charles Evans Jr., (1916), and Jones.
In each era, the world's greatest players have been identified by surviving the rigorous examination provided by the U.S. Open. Ben Hogan's steely determination boosted him to four victories (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953). Arnold Palmer's record comeback win in 1960, when he fired a final round of 65 to come from seven strokes off the lead, cemented his dashing image. Jack Nicklaus' historic assault on the professional record book began when he won the first of his four U.S. Open Championships in 1962, his rookie season as a professional.
Nicklaus, who also won in 1967, 1972, and 1980, is one of only four golfers to win four U.S. Opens. The others are Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), Jones and Hogan.
In 1954, the U.S. Open course was roped from tee to green for the first time. That year also marked the first national television coverage. Coverage was expanded by ABC Sports in 1977 so that all 18 holes of the final two rounds were broadcast live. In 1982, on the ESPN cable network, the first two rounds were broadcast live for the first time. NBC began televising the U.S. Open in 1995.
The format of the U.S. Open has changed several times. The USGA extended the championship to 72 holes in 1898, with 36 holes played on each of two days. In 1926, the format was changed to 18 holes played each of two days, then 36 holes on the third day. In 1965, the present format of four 18-hole daily rounds was implemented for the first time.
In 2002, a two-tee (Nos. 1 and 10) start was used for the first and second rounds. In addition, Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., was the first facility owned by the public to host a U.S. Open. International qualifying sites were added in 2005 and the champion at Pinehurst Resort in N.C. was Michael Campbell, who qualified in England.