The first U.S. Senior Open Championship was played June 26-29, 1980, on the East Course of Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Established as a result of the remarkable growth in senior golf, both at the professional and amateur levels, the championship attracted 631 entries.

The inaugural Senior Open was conducted for golfers 55 and older, with a handicap limit of eight strokes for amateurs.

The field included former U.S. Open champions Lew Worsham, Julius Boros, Ed Furgol, Jack Fleck and Tommy Bolt. Former U.S. Amateur Champion William C. Campbell was also a competitor.

Roberto De Vicenzo, a national hero in his native Argentina, won with a score of 285, one over par. He was four strokes ahead of Campbell, the runner-up.

In 1981, the USGA lowered the age minimum to 50 to make the championship more competitive. The USGA also believed that lowering the minimum age would place the Senior Open in the mainstream of other senior competitions.

The second Senior Open was won by another national hero, Arnold Palmer, 51, at Oakland Hills Country Club in Birmingham, Mich. Palmer won in an 18-hole playoff with Bob Stone and Billy Casper. With his victory, Palmer joined JoAnne Carner as the only players to win three different USGA Championships (Jack Nicklaus, Carol Semple Thompson, and Tiger Woods have since accomplished this feat).

In 1982, at the Portland (Ore.) Golf Club, Miller Barber won the first of his three Senior Opens. Barber shot a final round 65 and set the 72-hole scoring record of 282. He also captured the 1984 and 1985 championships.

Dale Douglass broke Barber's record in 1986 with a 72-hole score of 279. In 1987, Gary Player lowered Douglass' record by a remarkable nine strokes when he shot a 72-hole score of 270 at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn., to win. He was the only player to shoot four rounds in the 60s until Tom Weiskopf turned the trick in 1995.

Weiskopf shot 69-69-69-68-275 on the Blue Course of Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., to win.

U.S. Open champions have performed extremely well in the U.S. Senior Open, capturing eight of the 17 championships. U.S. Open Champions who have also won the Senior Open are: Arnold Palmer (1960 U.S. Open, 1981 Senior Open); Billy Casper (1959, 1966 U.S. Open, 1983 Senior Open); Gary Player (1965 U.S. Open, 1987, 1988 Senior Open); Orville Moody (1969 U.S. Open, 1989 Senior Open); Lee Trevino (1968, 1971 U.S. Open, 1990 Senior Open); and Jack Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980 U.S. Open, 1991, 1993 Senior Open), and Hale Irwin (1974, 1979, 1990 Open,, 1998 and 2000 Senior Open).

The growth of senior golf has meant steadily increasing fields for the U.S. Senior Open. In 2002, a record 3,101 entries were accepted by the USGA.

The final two rounds of the U.S. Senior Open were broadcast live on national television beginning with the championship's 1980 inaugural. It has been telecast nationally ever since.

Don Pooley and Tom Watson staged the first 3-or-4 hole playoff in 2002. The format was installed in 1999. Pooley won with a birdie on the fifth hole. His 63 in the third round was the lowest score in Senior Open history. 

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image