The Norman Transcript

National Sports

June 10, 2014

Strange still the last to win back-to-back U.S. Opens

PINEHURST, N.C. — Justin Rose can expect a phone call of congratulations from Curtis Strange if he were to successfully defend his U.S. Open title this week.

It’s just not a phone call Strange wants to make.

This is the 25-year anniversary of Strange winning at Oak Hill to become only the sixth player to win back-to-back in the U.S. Open.

No one has done it since then.

“Do I want to see somebody do it? Not particularly,” Strange said Monday. “But I’m not rooting against somebody.”

Strange won his first U.S. Open in 1988 at The Country Club, beating Nick Faldo in a playoff.

A year later, he was three shots out of the lead going into the final round at Oak Hill when Tom Kite stumbled to a 78 and Strange closed with a 70 to win by one shot.

He doesn’t know why it has taken so long for the next repeat champion. Tiger Woods won back-to-back at the Masters (2001-02), the British Open (2005-06) and twice at the PGA Championship (1999-2000, 2006-07). He is a three-time U.S. Open champion, but never came particularly close to repeating.

Ben Hogan won in 1950-51, so it was 38 years before the next repeat champion in the U.S. Open. Not even Jack Nicklaus won back-to-back. Strange never gave it much thought about winning two in a row until he shot 64 in the second round to take the lead.

“And then I didn’t play well on Saturday, so I was three behind,” he said. “So there wasn’t anything written on Sunday morning. And I played well on Sunday and prevailed, but there wasn’t a lot written that week. And then after the fact, there was a lot written. Then, they thought if I could do it, it can be done a bunch in the future.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Tour leader Nibali says he’s ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

    CARCASSONNE, France — Barring a disaster for him on French roads from now until Sunday, the man who looks set to win the Tour de France says he understands that cycling is still paying for its longtime doping plague....

    July 22, 2014

  • McIlroy will emerge even stronger than ever

    HOYLAKE, England — The celebration began long before Rory McIlroy had a chance to drink out of the claret jug....

    July 22, 2014

  • Petrino ushers Louisville into ACC

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bobby Petrino turned Louisville into a top-10 team nearly a decade ago. Now, more than two years after a scandal derailed his career, Petrino is back with the Cardinals as they enter the Atlantic Coast Conference....

    July 22, 2014

  • Stewart still riding high

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tony Stewart heads into the busiest week of his year riding high from a win in his return to sprint car racing. Stewart raced in a sprint car last weekend for the first time since he broke his leg in an extracurricular ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Witness: Sterling must sell to pay debts

    LOS ANGELES — The chief financial officer of Donald Sterling’s properties said Monday that the billionaire may be forced to sell a large portion of his real estate empire to cover $500 million in loans if he persists in refusing to sell ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Mikolas pitches Rangers past sloppy Yankees

    NEW YORK — Miles Mikolas earned his first win as a starter, pitching into the eighth inning Monday night and leading the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the sloppy New York Yankees. Trailing by a run with none on and two outs in the ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Angels with latest big move before deadline

    Oakland general manager Billy Beane acted boldly, trading top prospect Addison Russell in a deal that brought starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics....

    July 22, 2014

  • Jeter turns small part of attention to business

    NEW YORK — Pedestrians craned their necks as Derek Jeter stood in front of a food truck parked across the street from Central Park....

    July 22, 2014

  • Ortiz homers twice, Red Sox rout Blue Jays

    TORONTO — David Ortiz hit the 452nd and 453rd home runs of his career, moving past Boston great Carl Yastrzemski into 36th place on the all-time list, and the Red Sox won their fifth straight game Monday night, routing the Toronto Blue ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Dodgers edge out Cardinals

    ST. LOUIS — Adrian Gonzalez hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning off St. Louis Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal and the Los Angeles Dodgers salvaged the series finale with a 4-3 victory Sunday night....

    July 21, 2014