When and Where Was the First US Open Golf Tournament?

Newport Country Club clubhouse
The Newport Country Club clubhouse. A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The first U.S. Open was played at the 9-hole Newport Golf and Country Club in Newport, R.I., in 1895. The 1895 U.S. Open was the first one ever played. It took place at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island, with four rounds of nine holes each, 36 holes total. All 36 holes were contested in one day, Oct. 4, 1895.

And Horace Rawlins was the first U.S. Open champion.

Fourteen players (including four amateurs) entered, and 10 of them completed the tournament. In addition to the 10 golfers listed below, there was also William Norton, who withdrew after 18 holes; plus Charles B. Macdonald, Winthrop Rutherford and Lawrence Stoddart, each of whom withdrew before play began.

The U.S. Open was played one day after the completion of the very first U.S. Amateur (won by Macdonald), which was contested on the same course. (The Open and Amateur were played on the same course each of the first three years of their existences.) The Amateur is the tournament that actually got most of the fanfare; the first Open has been described as something of an "afterthought" by the USGA, which itself had only existed since December of 1894.

Rawlins won by two strokes over Willie Dunn and by three over James Foulis and amateur Andrew Smith. For winning, Rawlins received a gold medal and $150; the total amount of money handed out in Year 1 was $335.

Rawlins was runner-up the following year (to Foulis), and played in 15 U.S. Opens total, the last in 1912.

Rawlins was an Englishman by birth, a golf professional by trade. In those days that meant working at a club - there was no pro golf tour to play, although pro golfers would often play challenge matches and exhibitions, as well as the occasional tournament.

The 1895 U.S. Open was just the third tournament Rawlins had ever played in, but he had one big advantage over most of the others in the field: local knowledge. Rawlins was the assistant pro at the host course, Newport Country Club. (William Davis, who finished fifth, was the club's head pro and the designer of the original nine holes on which this tournament was played.)

Fun historical note: The U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open tournaments at Newport were originally supposed to be played in September. But they were postponed a month while Newport hosted ​America's Cup yachting event during September.

In 1995 - the 100th anniversary of the first Amateur and Open at Newport CC - the club again hosted the U.S. Amateur, with Tiger Woods the winner. Annika Sorenstam won a U.S. Women's Open there in 2006.

1895 U.S. Open Golf Tournament Scores

Results from the 1895 U.S. Open golf tournament played at Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island (a-amateur):

Horace Rawlins 45-46-41-41--173 $150
Willie Dunn 43-46-44-42--175 $100
James Foulis 46-43-44-43--176 $50
a-Andrew Smith 47-43-44-42--176
William Davis 45-49-42-42--178 $25
Willie Campbell 41-48-42-48--179 $10
John Harland 45-48-43-47--183
John Patrick 46-48-46-43--183
Samuel Tucker 49-48-45-43--185
John Reid 49-51-55-51--206