Brooks Koepka doesn’t know too much about Willie Anderson, but he does know that he is chasing the Scottish professional for a place in golf history. Anderson is one of four players – along with Bob Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus – to win four U.S. Opens, but Anderson is the only one to have won three in a row (1903-05).
Anderson’s trifecta was part of an astounding run in the championship: Between 1897 and 1909, Anderson won four times, finished second once, third once, fourth twice and fifth three times. Anderson won in a playoff over David “Deacon” Brown in 1903 at Baltusrol Golf Club, by five strokes over Gilbert Nicholls in 1904 at Glen View Golf Club, and by two strokes over Alex Smith in 1905 at Myopia Hunt Club. His run ended in 1906 at the Onwentsia Club outside Chicago, when he finished fifth, a distant 12 strokes behind Smith.
“It’s hard to win the same event three times in a row; I don’t know how many times it’s even been done on the PGA Tour, let alone a major championship,” said Koepka. “About Willie Anderson, it’s funny, we were in Scotland, I think it was last year, and we saw his name on a building. I guess it was where he used to live or something like that, which is pretty cool. But I don’t know too much about him. I haven’t Googled him.”
In golf majors, Walter Hagen and Young Tom Morris lead the way with four consecutive victories. Hagen won the PGA Championship in 1924-27, and Morris won The Open Championship in 1868-1872 (the event was not held in 1871). Three players have won back-to-back Masters Tournaments: Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Tiger Woods (2001-02).
In men’s tennis, the record is five straight, accomplished four times by three players in the Open era (since 1968): Bjorn Borg (1976-80 Wimbledon); Roger Federer (2003-07 Wimbledon, 2004-08 U.S. Open); and Rafael Nadal (2010-14 French Open).
In major men’s pro sports, the Green Bay Packers won three straight championships in 1965-67 (the last two of those coming in the first two Super Bowls), the Montreal Canadiens (1956-60) and the New York Yankees (1949-53) won five straight, and the Boston Celtics have the longest streak at eight titles, from 1959-66.
|NBA Championships||Boston Celtics||8 (1959-66)|
|World Series||New York Yankees||5 (1949-53)|
|Stanley Cups||Montreal Canadiens||5 (1956-60)|
|NFL Championships/Super Bowls||Green Bay Packers||3 (1965-67)|
|Tennis Grand Slam Events||Bjorn Borg
|5 (Wimbledon, 1976-80)
5 (Wimbledon, 2003-07; US Open, 2004-08)
5 (French Open, 2010-14)
|Golf Majors||Walter Hagen
Young Tom Morris
|4 (PGA Championship, 1924-27)
4 (British Open, *-1868-72)
*-British Open not contested in 1871
Ron Driscoll is the senior manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.