1940: Lawson Little wins the U.S. Open over Gene Sarazen in an 18 hole playoff

Lawson Little

Lawson Little takes U.S. Open over Sarazen

On this day, In 1940 Lawson Little won the U.S. Open over Gene Sarazen in an 18 hole playoff at Canterbury Country Club.  Little bested Sarazen by three, 70 to 73, and became the fifth player to win both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur. (Present day there have been thirteen players to win both the U.S. & British Amateurs.)  This win was considered somewhat disappointing to Little; he was said to have lost interest in golf during World War II, when the major championships were cancelled, and to have focused his attention more on the stock market.

Controversy and Confusion

Amongst the players there was confusion about incoming weather and start times.  Six players ended up being disqualified after the final round for starting too early to avoid a coming storm. Ed “Porky” Oliver finished in a tie with Lawson Little and Gene Sarazen, but was disqualified for teeing off 30 minutes early over weather concerns.  Walter Hagen, in his final U.S. Open, was also disqualified for showing up late for his third round. Under current rules, Hagen would be penalised two strokes if he arrived within a grace period. (Pictured Below)

 

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