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Museum Exhibit Highlights Diverse Stories at U.S. Open June 19, 2022 | BROOKLINE, MASS. By Danny Vohden, USGA

"Hard-Earned Glory" drew fans during the 2022 U.S. Open to view historical artifacts that helped tell stories of diverse golfers. (Jason E. Miczek/USGA)

A defining characteristic of USGA championships is that they showcase the game’s greatest players on the grandest stages. They also provide a stage for fans to connect to the game’s history, and this year, a focus of The Country Club and the USGA was to highlight diversity, equity and inclusion at the U.S. Open.

As part of this effort, the USGA Golf Museum and Library operated a free exhibit, entitled “Hard-Earned Glory,” highlighting the game’s rich history of diverse golf heroes. More than 50 artifacts, photographs and accompanying text elevated the powerful stories of iconic and lesser-known participants and champions – each of whom have overcome exceptional physical, mental, and emotional challenges to compete.

“This exhibit places the history of the U.S. Open into a broader social and cultural context,” said Hilary Cronheim, senior director of the USGA Museum. “Our hope is that fans leave with a more expanded understanding of inclusion, what it means to compete in the U.S. Open, and that they fully appreciate that the history of golf is diverse and multi-layered.”

Highlights of the exhibit include:

  • A golf club made and used by John Shippen, ca. 1896, as the USGA reaffirmed what it means to be an “open” championship through the participation of Shippen, an African American, and Shinnecock Indian Oscar Bunn.  

  • A mashie niblick used by Francis Ouimet in the 1913 U.S. Open. As a 20-year-old amateur and son of working-class immigrants, Ouimet made history in 1913 at The Country Club when he defeated Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in one of the most monumental underdog stories in sports history.

  • A United Golfers Association (UGA) trophy won by Jack Shippen in 1927. African Americans excluded from private clubs and public courses formed their own organizations, providing spaces for both enjoying the game as a recreational activity and cultivating golf talent. Founded in 1925, the (UGA) offered opportunities for high-level competition for Black amateurs and professionals during decades of discrimination.

  • A golf towel used by Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open. Woods redefined professional golf with his dominating play, athleticism, power, and charisma. In 2008, Woods battled through an injured knee and leg to win his ninth USGA championship in a dramatic 19-hole playoff.

The USGA Golf Museum and Library is the nation’s oldest sports museum and the world’s leading institution for the collection, preservation, interpretation and dissemination of golf history. Its collections, the world’s largest and most significant related to the game of golf, serve as the foundation of the organization’s diverse roles, services and initiatives.