A capsule look at the four previous U.S. Opens held at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, where the 112th U.S. Open will be played June 14-17:
Winner: Lee Janzen
Runner-up: Payne Stewart
Margin: 1 shot
Recap: Janzen joined the group of surprise U.S. Open champions at Olympic when he closed with a 68. Janzen was five shots behind going into the final round, and was seven shots out of the lead with two early bogeys. He was headed for another one at the par-4 fifth when his ball lodged in a tree. Janzen was headed back to the tee when it fell out, and he wound up chipping it to save par. Stewart gave up the lead with back-to-back bogeys early on the back nine, and he fell one shot behind with a bogey on the 16th. His 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th to force a playoff broke low of the cup. .
Winner: Scott Simpson
Runner-up: Tom Watson
Margin: 1 shot
Recap: Watson took a one-shot lead into the final round, then closed with a 70 for a round that would seem good enough to win a U.S. Open. Simpson, however, put together what he called the best round of putting in his life. He made three straight birdie putts starting on the 14th hole that gave him the lead, saved par with a 6-foot putt on the 18th and closed with a 2-under 68. Watson needed a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff, and his 45-footer from just off the green looked good all the way until stopping an inch short. Watson, just like Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan before him, never won another major. Seve Ballesteros was one off the lead until bogeys on the 12th and 13th. He was third, his highest finish in a U.S. Open.
Winner: Billy Casper
Runner-up: Arnold Palmer
Margin: Playoff (Casper 69, Palmer 73)
Recap: With a three-shot lead starting the final round, Palmer went out in 32 and led by seven shots with nine to play. The winner was no longer in doubt. The question was whether Palmer could break Ben Hogan’s record 276 set at Riviera in 1948. That quickly changed. Palmer dropped shots on the 10th and 13th, and even when Casper birdied the 15th, he still trailed by three shots with three to play. Casper birdied the 16th as Palmer made bogey, and he caught the King when Palmer made another bogey on the 17th. Palmer shot 39 on the back for a 71 (Casper shot 68) to set up a playoff. Palmer again got off to a fast start and led by two shots at the turn, but a two-shot swing at the 11th sent Palmer into another spiral and he never recovered.
Winner: Jack Fleck
Runner-up: Ben Hogan
Margin: Playoff (Fleck 69, Hogan 72)
Recap: Hogan was in the locker room, his knee aching from the 36-hole day that put him at 287, and it looked certain he would win a record fifth U.S. Open. The only player still on the course with a chance was Iowa club pro Jack Fleck, who was two shots behind. Fleck made birdie on the 15th, got through the next two holes with par, and then hit a 7-iron to about 8 feet and holed it for birdie to shoot 67 and force an 18-hole playoff. That was the last thing Hogan and his battered legs needed. In the playoff, Fleck simply was relentless with his putter and accuracy. Hogan holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the eighth, and Fleck matched him from 8 feet. The Iowan rolled in a 25-footer on the ninth and was in control of the playoff all day. Hogan was one shot behind on the 18th when he pulled his tee shot into the rough and took two shots to get back to the fairway.
– Associated Press