Willie Anderson’s place in U.S. Open history belongs on the same pantheon as Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus. He was the first to win four U. S. Open Championships and the only golfer in history to win three in succession. The sad part of Anderson’s biography is that he died at the age of 31. Since his death in 1910, only five golfers-including Hogan (1950, 1951) and Curtis Strange (1988, 1989)-have won two consecutive U. S. Opens, and only Hogan has come close to winning four out of five years, as Anderson did in 1901, 1903, 1904 and 1905.
Alex Smith, a Scotsman who finished second to Anderson in two U.S. Opens, believed that “most likely, had he lived longer, Willie would have set a record for [U. S.] Open championships that would never be beaten.” From 1897 to 1910, Anderson won the U. S. Open four times, finished second once, third once, fourth twice and fifth three times. He also won the Western Open four times, which at the time was considered a major championship.