US Open countdown: Goodman becomes the last amateur to win Open crown

37th U.S. Open | June 8-10, 1933

North Shore Country Club, Glenview, Ill.


Johnny Goodman, United States (a) 75 - 66 - 70 - 76 287
Ralph Guldahl, United States 76 - 71 - 70 - 71 288
Craig Wood, United States 73 - 74 - 71 - 72 290
Tommy Armour, Scotland 68 - 75 - 76 - 73 292
Walter Hagen, United States 73 - 76 - 77 - 66 292

For the eighth — and final — time in a 19-year span, an amateur won the national open. This time, it was Goodman, a Nebraska native who ended up selling insurance for much of his life.

One of 13 children, Goodman became an orphan as a teenager after his mother died, and his father took off. Goodman often walked along the railroad tracks in Omaha. That is where he spotted the Field Club of Omaha where he first started caddying, then developed into a sharp and very accurate iron player.

Ten years after he took up golf, he won the U.S. Open at North Shore, coming back from an early deficit to tie the tournament’s single-round scoring mark with a 66 in the second round. He shot a 70 in the third round to grab a six-stroke lead over Guldahl, a relative unknown professional from St. Louis.

Goodman began his final round with an eagle, then a birdie. After that, he suddenly collapsed, allowing Guldahl back into contention.

Guldahl had a chance to send it into a playoff on the finishing green, but missed a 4-foot putt for birdie.

Four years later, Goodman registered his other top-10 finish at a U.S. Open, tying for eighth at Bloomfield Hills in Michigan. That was also the same year he captured his lone U.S. Amateur title.

Goodman turned professional in 1960 at the age of 50, but never won again.