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What’s in a Name? Whimsical, Imaginary U.S. Open Groupings

June 13, 2021 SAN DIEGO, CALIF. By Ron Driscoll, USGA
Watson (left) and Holmes (center) wouldn't exist without Doyle, right?

Mike Davis, the outgoing CEO of the USGA, has often remarked that one of the most enjoyable annual rites of his 31-year USGA career was spending a day or two in early June working with Jeff Hall, his longtime cohort in Rules and Competitions, on the tee-time groupings for the U.S. Open Championship.

Del Lemon, a former golf columnist and a 30-year member of both the USGA and the Golf Writers Association of America, wondered why Davis and Hall should have all the fun. He offers some whimsical – and often impossible, based on the eras in which players competed – combinations for your amusement.

As Del put it, “Since 1895 more than 5,000 competitors, with names as diverse as their golf swings, have qualified for the U.S. Open Championship. The definitive resource here is Morgan G. Brenner’s 3,000-page, three-volume set, “The Majors of Golf (1860-2008),” the most comprehensive golf reference ever compiled of which I’m aware.”

As we await the pairings for this week’s 121st U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, we hope you enjoy the wordplay used to create these groups of three, followed by some selected two-player “weekend” pairings. All players listed competed in at least one U.S. Open.

Fair warning from Del: “Let the groans begin.”

Groups of three:

Tiger Woods, Matthew Wolff, Pete Lamb
Jack Nicklaus, Mason Rudolph, Edward Kringle
Tom Watson, J.B. Holmes, Allen Doyle
Hubert Green, Andy Bean, Ellsworth Vines
Miller Barber, Al Balding, Sean O’Hair
Orville Moody, John Jolly, Fred Funk
Jerry Heard, John Huh, David Oh
Howard Twitty, Jonathan Byrd, Robert Wrenn
Don Cherry, Walter Apel, Frederick W. Pye
Samuel Adams, Gay Brewer, Chet Beer
Edward Flowers, Mark Diamond, Tommy Valentine
Don January, Gary March, Bob May
Stewart Cink, Scott Fawcett, Richard Plummer
Leslie Madison, Theodore Adams, Tommy Fillmore
Jack Kennedy, Howard Johnson, James A. Grant
Harris English, Emmett C. French, Dutch Harrison
Bert Way, Ernie Terry, Oscar Bunn
Jess Sweetser, John Kinder, Davis Love
Andrew Putnam, Andrew Parr, Ryan Yip
Rocky Thompson, Harrison Frazar, Todd Dempsey
Johnny Bass, Raymond Salmen, Chauncey Trout
Don Malarkey, Dick Bull, Mark Lye
Fred Pye, Ernest Pieper, Floyd Hamblen
James Hepburn, Nick Taylor, Richard Burton
Steve Musto, Charles Mayo, Terry Dill
Donald Moe, Larry Nelson, John Curley
John Pott, Ralph Bogart, James Roche
Melvin Rifman, Bruce Soulsby, Jazz Janewattananond
Paul Biggy, Theodore Huge, Jumbo Ozaki
Gary Cowan, Steve Bull, Bruce Cudd
Tommy Aaron, Babe Hiskey, Trevor Homer
Rufus King, Elwood Queen, Ted Bishop
Patrick Reed, Tommy Wright, Nathan Mather
Lefty Stackhouse, Russell Stonehouse, Paul Barkhouse
Craig Shankland, Jason Dufner, Richard Hackett
George Von Elm, Joseph Burch, Stephen Groves
Richard Foote, Gene Bone, Harry Legg


Willie Dow, Bobby Jones
Ted Oh, Terry Noe
John Paul Morse, William Code
Billy Tuten, Rodney Horn
D.A. Points, Andy North
Henry Cotton, J.K. Bole
Jeff Golden, Jack Rule
Jason Day, Dick Knight
Bryan Abbott, Lou Costello
George Payton, Peter Manning
H.M. Forrest, Scott Gump
Mark Mielke, Jack Way
J.L. Lewis, William Clark
Bob Eastwood, Lee Westwood
Jimmy Roy, Jock Rogers
Arthur Ham, Henry Eggers
Gary Orr, Ernie Els
Hunter Mahan, Roger Gunn
Andy Pope, William Francis
Gil Morgan, Kyle Stanley
Andy Bare, Steve Flesch
Mark Carnevale, Herbert Barker
Jack Oke, Max Homa
Brett Melton, David Frost
Bobby Clampett, Lee McCoy
Robert Rock, Doug Rolland
Dennis Holland, Larry Brazil
John Senden, Ted Goin
Frank Toronto, Esteban Toledo
John Barnum, Al Bailey
Eben Byers, John Sellers
Gibby Gilbert, Timmy Sullivan

The author of “The Story of Golf in Oklahoma,” Del Lemon is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. He and his wife Leslie live in Austin, Texas.