27th U.S. Open/July 13-15, 1923
Inwood Country Club, Inwood, N.Y.
|x-Bobby Jones, United States (a)||71||-||73||-||76||-||76||—||296|
|Bobby Cruickshank, Scotland||73||-||72||-||78||-||73||—||296|
|Jock Hutchison, United States||70||-||72||-||82||-||78||—||302|
|Jack Forrester, Scotland||75||-||73||-||77||-||78||—||303|
|Johnny Farrell, United States||76||-||77||-||75||-||76||—||304|
|Francis Gallett, Scotland||76||-||72||-||77||-||79||—||304|
|William Reekie, United States (a)||80||-||74||-||75||-||75||—||304|
|x-won in an 18-hole playoff; (a)-amateur|
Promise fulfilled. For so many years, pundits pointed to the moment that the smooth, talented Bobby Jones would finally break through — and he did on Long Island for the first of his seven professional major championships (and 13 overall if you count five U.S. Amateur and one British Amateur titles).
What proved to be an unsettling trend for much of Jones’ career, however, was shaky U.S. Open final rounds. He hooked his tee shot at the par-3 seventh hole that hit a spectator and bounced out of bounds, leading to a double bogey. Jones was still in good shape heading into the final three holes, but he tugged his approach shot at the 16th hole into a parking lot, leading to a bogey. He still led by four strokes with two holes to play, but finished bogey-double bogey – then watched as Cruickshank made birdie on the final hole to force the playoff.
Cruickshank was a tough customer, too. The Scot served in the British Army for World War I, watched his brother killed just a few feet next to him and was eventually taken a prisoner of war by the Germans. After the war ended, Cruickshank moved to the United States in 1921, and was an immediate factor in majors, narrowly losing the PGA Championship in 1922 and 1923.
In this playoff, he suffered another heartbreak moment. The two golfers were tied heading into the finishing hole, a long par 4. Cruickshank elected to lay up from the rough; Jones did not, ripping a 2-iron from 200 yards out that stopped close to the hole. After Cruickshank pulled his third shot into a greenside bunker, the tournament was over – all Jones needed to do was two-putt from 8 feet, which he did.