23rd U.S. Open | June 9-12, 1919
Brae Burn Country Club, West Newton, Mass.
|x-Walter Hagen, United States||78||-||73||-||75||-||75||—||301|
|Mike Brady, United States||74||-||74||-||73||-||80||—||301|
|Jock Hutchison, Scotland||78||-||76||-||76||-||76||—||306|
|Tom McNamara, United States||80||-||73||-||79||-||74||—||306|
|George McLean, United States||81||-||75||-||76||-||76||—||308|
|Louis Tellier, France||73||-||78||-||82||-||75||—||308|
After a two-year hiatus because of World War I, this U.S. Open became another stage for Walter Hagen’s greatness — and perceived recklessness.
But first, Mike Brady — a burly Massachusetts product with the nickname “King” — had to blow all of his five-stroke lead in the final round. Nobody has blown a bigger final-day advantage since then. In fact, Hagen had a chance to win the tournament in regulation, facing an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole. And before the putt, Hagen called Brady from the clubhouse to watch the moment, only to miss.
That night, as Brady made sure to get a good night’s sleep before the 18-hole playoff, Hagen did not. The 1914 U.S. Open winner stayed out all night partying with singer Al Jolson. It was reported that the only time Hagen stopped by his hotel was to shower and change clothes before going head-to-head with Brady.
In the playoff, Hagen jumped out to a six-stroke lead after 10 holes, only to see it reduced to one shot heading into the final hole. On that finishing par 4, Brady, a nine-time PGA Tour winner, split the fairway with a long tee shot while Hagen topped his drive. Somehow as Hagen’s tee ball scooted on the ground, it took one big hop over a creek and landed in the fairway some 125 yards from the tee box. It was a big break, too — Hagen hit his approach shot with a long iron close to the front of the green, chipped up and sank a 3-footer for par to capture the crown. Hagen shot 77; Brady 78.
After the tournament, Hagen resigned his position as the head professional at Oakland Hills, and recommended that Brady be his successor.
As far as this U.S. Open, two noteworthy changes happened. One, the purse was increased to $1,745, paying out 11th — and 12th-place finishers. Secondly, the regulation 72 holes were played out over three days, not two — with the final 36 holes being played on the last day.