U.S. Open countdown: 1905 brings Anderson record third consecutive title

11th U.S. Open | Sept. 21-22, 1905

Myopia Hunt Club, South Hamilton, Mass.


Willie Anderson, Scotland 81 - 80 - 76 - 77 314
Alex Smith, Scotland 76 - 80 - 80 - 80 316
Percy Barrett, England 81 - 80 - 77 - 79 317
Peter Robertson, Scotland 79 - 80 - 81 - 77 317
Stewart Gardner, Scotland 78 - 78 - 85 - 77 318

Willie Anderson’s historic run to three consecutive U.S. Open victories — something that has not been accomplished since — concluded with his come-from-behind win at Myopia Hunt Club. He trailed Alex Smith by one stroke entering the final round, but finished off the comeback with a 77.

So what happened to the Scot after this tournament? He placed fifth the following year in his quest for four U.S. Open titles in a row. And he finished fourth in back-to-back years (1908, 1909). He also had an appetite to play in head-to-head, best-ball matches, and traveled throughout the United States, Mexico and Scotland to play such money-making exhibitions.

In 1906, it was reported that Anderson signed the richest club-professional contract when he was hired by Onwentsia Country Club in Illinois. Two years later, he won his third Western Open title, and followed that with wins at the Western Professional Golf Association championship in Chicago, and the Florida Open in Palm Beach.

After winning his final Western Open championship in 1909, Anderson’s golf game slipped noticeably. Much of that had to do with his reported exorbitant lifestyle, especially his hard drinking. In October of 1910, Anderson died in his home cottage in Philadelphia at age 31. Most accept the cause of his death as arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. But rumors had floated around for many years that a brain tumor, and even acute alcoholism, caused his ultimate demise.