BEHIND THE SCENES
Nine Things You Need to Know About the 2016 U.S. Senior Open August 10, 2016 | FAR HILLS, N.J. By David Chmiel, USGA

2015 U.S. Senior Open Champion Jeff Maggert begins defense of his title at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio. (USGA/J.D. Cuban)

As the best field in senior golf descends on Columbus, Ohio, here are nine things you need to know about the 37th U.S. Senior Open, being played at Scioto (pronounced SIGH-oh-tah) Country Club:  

1) Jack I: Jack Grout grew up in Oklahoma City, Okla., where he was an avid golfer. He caddied for Walter Hagen, played with Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, and played on the PGA Tour from 1931 to 1950. He held a number of jobs as a teaching pro to make ends meet while on Tour, and in 1950, he took a job at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio. One of his first students was a stocky 10-year-old, also named Jack.

2) Jack II: Jack Nicklaus began working with Jack Grout and never stopped. Under Grout’s tutelage, Nicklaus set the Scioto course record at 15, won the Ohio Open, the NCAA individual title while a student at Ohio State in his hometown and two U.S. Amateur Championships. On his way to becoming arguably the greatest golfer of all time, Nicklaus worked with Grout at the start of every season to keep his swing finely tuned.

3) Championship Pedigree: Donald Ross designed Scioto, which opened for play in 1916. A decade later, Bob Jones claimed the second of his four U.S. Open Championships at Scioto and quickly became the hero of 13-year-old Charlie Nicklaus. Bruce Fleisher, who won the 1968 U.S. Amateur here, went on to win the 2001 U.S. Senior Open and is in the Senior Open field here. Scioto hosted the 1986 U.S. Senor Open, which was won by Dale Douglass (at 50 years, 3 months, 24 days, he remains the youngest Senior Open champion). 

2014 U.S. Senior Open Champion Colin Montgomerie practices from bunkers that were restored to Donald Ross' original plans in 2008. (USGA/Fred Vuich)

4) Local Knowledge Scioto is a Donald Ross classic. Built in 1916, it was redesigned in the 1960s by architect Dick Wilson, who changed the bunkering, raised the greens and lost the Ross feel. In 2008, architect (and fellow Ohio State Buckeye) Michael Hurdzan, with uncredited help from Nicklaus, made some modern infrastructure upgrades but restored most of the Ross qualities to the layout. 

5) What’s a Buckeye? In the back yard of Nicklaus’ alma mater, aka “The Ohio State University” to some football fans, ohiostatebuckeyes.com says a buckeye is “a small shiny dark brown nut with a light tan patch that comes from the Buckeye tree, the Ohio state tree.”

6) The Defending Champion “If they’re going to mark your name down in the history books as a good golfer, winning a USGA championship is at the top of the list,” said Jeff Maggert, who outlasted Colin Montgomerie to capture the 2015 U.S. Senior Open at Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento, Calif. Maggert has six top-10 finishes this year as he prepares to defend his title.

7) Who is Ready? Joe Durant just outlasted Miguel Angel Jimenez last week on the way to his first win on the senior circuit. It would be foolish to rule out Bernhard Langer or a collection of other stars. Of course, there may be a wild card among the players in the 156-man field

 

Crowd favorite John Daly turned 50 in April. On the 25th anniversary of his PGA Championship, could he win his first U.S. Senior Open? (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

8) Can Daly Do It? PGA Tour rookie John Daly came out of nowhere to take the golf world by storm when he won the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. Since that day, he’s had extreme highs (including the 1995 Open Championship victory at St. Andrews) and much-publicized lows. Golf’s Paul Bunyan turned 50 in April. Now, 25 years – to the week – of his first life-changing major championship, can the crowd favorite return to glory one more time?

9) You can watch live action from the U.S. Senior Open on three different channels, starting on Thursday – via live streaming on usga.org and on Fox and FS1. Click here to get the broadcast schedule.

David Chmiel is manager of member content for the USGA. Contact him at dchmiel@usga.org.