54th U.S. Open | June 17-19, 1954
Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, N.J.
|Ed Furgol, United States||71||-||70||-||71||-||72||—||284|
|Gene Littler, United States||70||-||69||-||76||-||70||—||285|
|Lloyd Mangrum, United States||72||-||71||-||72||-||71||—||286|
|Dick Mayer, United States||72||-||71||-||70||-||73||—||286|
|Bobby Locke, South Africa||74||-||70||-||74||-||70||—||288|
If it weren’t for a freakish playground accident, Furgol likely would not have played golf — and won the national open.
The New York native ended an aging Hogan’s bid for a fifth U.S. Open in seven years with a strange recovery sequence on the finishing hole. After hitting his drive into the trees, Furgol played his second shot into the 18th fairway of Baltusrol’s other course — and ended up saving a par out of it.
While Furgol was on the course, Littler — who had been a professional for just six months after winning the U.S. Amateur — needed a birdie to move into a tie for the lead. But his 8-foot putt on the finishing hole ran too far by the cup.
Mayer easily got the worst break of the tournament. Just before hitting his tee shot at the 18th hole, a par 5, a patron inadvertently yelled in his backswing. Mayer pushed his drive into a set of tall pine trees, and his golf ball was never located, leading to a double bogey.
As a 12-year-old, Furgol fell from the parallel bars and landed on his left elbow. It never healed correctly, even after three surgeries. As a result, his left arm was 10 inches shorter than his right.
Doctors advised him to take up golf as an exercise for his arm, or risk losing it through amputation. He ended up winning six times on the PGA Tour.
This was also a key U.S. Open for the future, because it was the first national open that was nationally televised.
Also in this championship, ropes were utilized for the first time to separate the gallery from the golfers.
Prize money also increased 20 percent, with the winner receiving $6,000.