US Open countdown: England’s Jacklin ends US dominance at Open in 1970

70th U.S. Open | June 18-21, 1970

Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minn.


Tony Jacklin, England 71 - 70 - 70 - 70 281
Dave Hill, United States 75 - 69 - 71 - 73 288
Bob Charles, New Zealand 76 - 71 - 75 - 67 289
Bob Lunn, United States 77 - 72 - 70 - 70 289
Ken Still, United States 78 - 71 - 71 - 71 291

Long gone were the early years of England’s pre-eminence at U.S. Opens. In fact, before Jacklin conquered wind-swept Hazeltine, American golfers had won the national open in 39 of the previous 40 years.

But Jacklin had a knack for ending futile streaks:

• His win at the PGA Tour’s 1968 Jacksonville Open was the first by a European Tour player in more than 40 years.

• He won the 1969 British Open, ending his country’s 18-year drought.

•  In 1970, he ended the longest skid of all — becoming the first golfer from England since Ted Ray to win the U.S. Open.

You could say Jacklin really won the national open on the first day. He was the only man to shoot an under-par score (71) — all while the rest of the field struggled to break 80 on a new course with wind gusts reaching 55 mph. He led wire-to-wire in posting a seven-stroke victory.

The son of a truck driver, Jacklin ended up playing on the European Ryder Cup squad seven consecutive times (1967-79). Except for the memorable tie in 1969 in which Jack Nicklaus conceded a 2-foot putt to Jacklin on the final hole (the two later built a golf course together in Florida called “The Concession), his squads never won the competition against the United States.

But as a non-playing captain, Jacklin led the European team to its first Ryder Cup win in 28 years in the 1985 competition. Two years later, they won on American soil for the first time ever.

Also in the 1970 U.S. Open, Still, of Fircrest, had his best finish ever in a major — fifth place. He debuted at the national open in 1958 as a 23-year-old, but did not make the cut until 1963 when it was at The Country Club in Massachusetts — and also in 1966 (Olympic Club) and 1969 (Champions Course) before this career-best effort. For a story on Still’s major tournament success, see A1.

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