A look back: Previous U.S. Opens at Pinehurst

No. 2 course hosts the major for the fourth time
Payne Stewart celebrates after winning the U.S. Open golf championship at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999. The U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst for the fourth time. (Chuck Burton/AP Photo)

History will be made this weekend when the U.S. Open crowns a new champion, the fourth to win the title at Pinehurst No. 2. Here’s a look back at the previous times the course has hosted the Open.

25 years ago (1999)

Payne Stewart had lost a 54-hole lead the previous year and figured to join the “Graveyard of Champions” at Olympic Club for losing a lead and never winning another major. But he showed remarkable mettle in 1999 in a terrific battle involving Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Woods fell back with a bogey on the 17th. Stewart was one shot behind when he made a 25-foot par putt on the 16th to tie Mickelson. Stewart hit his tee shot to 3 feet for birdie on the par-3 17th to take the lead. On the final hole, he drove into the rough, wedged back to the fairway and hit his third to 15 feet. Mickelson narrowly missed a 25-foot birdie, and Stewart won it with a 15-foot par to beat Mickelson by one.

Mickelson carried a pager with him and pledged to leave if his wife went into labor. She gave birth the next day. Stewart perished in a freak plane crash four months later.

Quotable: “All I wanted to do was give myself a chance. I kept playing. I kept plugging. I never gave up.” — Payne Stewart.

19 years ago (2005)

Michael Campbell became the first player from New Zealand to win a major since Bob Charles in the 1963 British Open. Campbell holed clutch par putts and finally pulled away when Tiger Woods three-putted the par-3 17th, the same hole that ended his charge in 1999. Campbell closed with a 69 and was the only player who did not finish over par. Retief Goosen started the final round with a three-shot lead in his bid to win back-to-back. The lead was gone in three holes and Goosen shot 81.

The six years between U.S. Opens at Pinehurst No. 2 was the shortest gap between U.S. Opens at the same site since 1946.

Quotable: “I worked hard for it. I deserve it. And I have it. It’s all mine.” — Michael Campbell.

10 years ago (2014)

Martin Kaymer of Germany won his second major, and this one wasn’t really close. He took advantage of a good draw and rain-softened conditions to open with 65-65, set the 36-hole record in the U.S. Open and lead by six shots. No one came any closer than four shots of the lead over the final 48 holes. Kaymer closed with a 69 to win by eight shots. He was the only player from the last eight groups on Sunday to break par.

Kaymer became the fourth European in the last five years to win the U.S. Open after a 40-year drought and was only the seventh wire-to-wire winner in U.S. Open history. There hasn’t been another since then.

It was the first “doubleheader” for the USGA. Michelle Wie won the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 the following week.

Quotable: “Martin was playing his own tournament.” — Rickie Fowler.

By Associated Press

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