American interest in the championship came in the late 1920s when golf legend Bobby Jones won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930). Other four time winners include Willie Anderson, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.
In 1924 the USGA introduced sectional qualifying due to the overwhelming response in entries to the tournament. This year, 107 sites will host the Local Qualifying for those who are not exempt for Local and/or Sectional qualifying. Once that is completed, the 750 entrants who managed to advance will be eligible for the Sectional Qualifying Rounds. The Sectional Qualifying Rounds are scheduled for May 30, June 7 and 8 at 14 sites in the U.S., England and Japan. 156 players will comprise the final field to be played June 16-19th. Only 64 golfers in competition are currently fully exempt and were able to bypass all qualifying rounds.
This years U.S. Open will be held at the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C. on the famed No. 2. Pinehurst No. 2 was built by renowned architect Donald Ross in 1903 with the official opening in 1907. Rebuilt in 1935 to remove the sand greens for grass greens readied the course for the championship play to come.
Pinehurst No. 2 has hosted a number of major championships that include:
1936 PGA Championship
1951 Ryder Cup Matches
1962 U.S. Amateur Championship
1973-1982 PGA Tour Event
1989 U.S. Womens Amateur Championship
1991 Tour Championship
1992 Tour Championship
1994 U.S. Senior OPEN Championship
1999 U.S. Open Championship
2005 U.S. Open Championship
The last time the U.S. Open was played at Pinehurst was in 1999 when Payne Stewart obtained his 2nd U.S. Open Title. Stewart captured this dramatic win on the 18th hole by hitting a 15-foot putt to beat Phil Mickelson by one stroke.
Stewarts victory lives on behind the 18th green of the course through a life-size bronze statue. He passed away four months after winning the title in a private plane crash.
Be sure to watch all the updates, player interviews and expert analysis The Golf Channel will be providing throughout the week. Join us June 13-19, 2005 as we wait to see if last years winner Retief Goosen can once again capture the title of U.S. Open Champion.