Willie Anderson, winner of four U.S. Open Championships was born on this day
Willie Anderson was born in North Berwick, Scotland. Brought up in public schooling, Anderson had his caddie license by the age of 11. When he left school he became an a apprentice for a club maker Alex Aitken nearby in Gullane, Scotland. At just the age of 16 Anderson immigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1896 making the voyage on the S.S. Pomeranian. After he and his family settled in, he entered into the 1897 U.S. Open which he lost by a stroke to Joe Lloyd.
Willie Anderson and the U.S. Open
After his outstanding runner-up finish at his first U.S. Open, Anderson came in third place in 1898. In 1899, he won the Southern Open but dropped to 5th place that year at the U.S. Open. He took a major step back in 1900 dropping to 11th when Harry Vardon and John Henry Taylor dueled for the title.
In 1901 Anderson finally found glory at the U.S. Open at the Myopia Hunt Club in Massachusetts. He bested Alex Smith in a playoff to finish the event in first place with a total of 331. In 1902, He came in fifth place for the second time in four years. In 1903, it was all Anderson again… as he won the U.S. Open over David Brown at Baltusrol Golf Club. He followed that performance up the next year by beating Gilbert Nicholls by five shots. This win came with exceptional praise as he shot all four rounds in the seventies. His third consecutive and final U.S. Open win came in 1905 beating Alex Smith at Myopia Hunt club once again.
Fact: Only Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus have equalled Willie Anderson’s total of four U.S. Open Championships
In the 14 straight Opens that Anderson played, he won four, was second once, third once, fourth twice, fifth three times, 11th twice and 15th once. Anderson was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975. He is still the only man to win three consecutive titles, and only Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus have equalled his total of four championships. Anderon was a successful and proven golfer but his life was cut short from epilepsy in 1910 at age 31.
Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.