When the U.S. Open Championship gets under way for the first time in the Pacific Northwest at Chambers Bay Golf Course in Washington on June 18th, defending champion Martin Kaymer claims that he does not feel any pressure.
Martin Kaymer (pictured above, photo by Chris Turvey) will tee off at Chambers Bay as defending champion after he became the first German-born player to win the title at Pinehurst last year. The three-time European Ryder Cup winner and former World No. 1 swept to his second major title in emphatic style, leading from day one to finish eight shots clear of the field.
«Many people think being defending champion means more pressure, but I disagree. There should really be no expectation to do the same thing again. But of course it would be great to win it twice», Kaymer said.
An exceptionally strong field
The German will face challenges from a field brimming with talent and star quality, one that includes in-form Masters champion Jordan Spieth, aiming to build on his maiden major win at Augusta in April; Rickie Fowler, who last month won The Players Championship in a dramatic three-way play-off; and Brooks Koepka, who recorded a top-five finish at last year’s U.S. Open. Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott also will be hoping to improve on previous top-10 finishes.
Amateurs Gunn Yang and Bradley Neil were exempt from qualifying, winning the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship and British Amateur Championship respectively. American amateur Ollie Schniederjans earned his place by finishing on top of the 2014 World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Stringent qualification criteria ensure, as always, that an exceptionally strong field will contest the second of the year’s four major championships, but even the biggest names will need to draw on reserves of courage, precise shot-making and mental fortitude to succeed over this most demanding of layouts. The links-style course nestles between the waters of Puget Sound and a steep hillside, featuring firm fairways and sloping greens.
History since 1895
Taking a look back at the world’s 3rd oldest golf championship, with a history dating back to 1895, the U.S. Open’s past champions comprise some of the greatest names in the history of golf. None more so than Arnold Palmer.
Renowned for his bold, skillful approach from tee to green, Palmer won the 1960 U.S. Open, famously overturning a seven-shot deficit in the final round at Cherry Hills to beat a 20-year-old amateur by the name of Jack Nicklaus, with whom he would develop a great friendship and rivalry.
Twenty years after finishing two shots behind crowd favourite Palmer, Nicklaus bravely holed a 10-foot (3-metre) birdie putt on the final hole to post a then record low four-round total of 272 and secure his fourth U.S. Open Championship. Nicklaus would go on to become the game’s most decorated player, claiming a record 18 majors.
In more recent years lots of other great names like Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and Retief Goosen have added their names to the U.S. Open Trophy.