|Dates||June 14–18, 1990|
|Course(s)||Medinah Country Club,|
Course No. 3
|Length||7,195 yards (6,579 m)|
|Field||156 players, 68 after cut|
|280 (−8), playoff|
The 1990 U.S. Open was the 90th U.S. Open, held June 14–18 at Course No. 3 of Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, a suburb northwest of Chicago. Hale Irwin became the oldest U.S. Open champion by defeating Mike Donald at the 91st hole, the first in sudden-death, after the two tied in the 18-hole Monday playoff. It was Irwin's third U.S. Open title, with previous wins in 1974 and 1979. Implemented decades earlier, it was the first use of sudden-death in the U.S. Open; the last tie in a playoff was in 1946. Sudden death was needed again in 1994 and 2008.
Irwin was without a PGA Tour win in five years and 11 years removed from his last U.S. Open victory in 1979; he received a special exemption from the USGA to enter the tournament. Irwin began the final round in a tie for 20th place, four strokes back of leaders Billy Ray Brown and Donald. Playing well ahead of the leaders, Irwin fired a round of 67, which included a 45-foot (14 m) birdie putt at the 72nd hole. After the putt dropped, he provided the championship with its enduring image as he took a "victory lap" around the green, high-fiving spectators. Irwin, however, had not won the championship yet as there were still golfers on the course with a chance to overtake him. Donald made par saves from 35 feet (11 m) on the 12th and from 15 feet (5 m) on the 14th before making bogey at the 16th. A two-putt par on the last tied him with Irwin, forcing an 18-hole Monday playoff. Brown and Nick Faldo finished a stroke out of the playoff in a tie for third place.
In the playoff, Donald took a two-shot lead to the 16th tee. Needing a birdie, Irwin responded with a brilliant 2-iron approach and sank the putt to get within one. After both players parred the 17th, Irwin made par at the last, giving Donald a chance to win the championship. His par putt, however, narrowly slid by, implementing sudden-death for the first time in U.S. Open history. (Previous playoff ties went on to play additional full rounds, the last of which was in 1946.) Irwin needed just one more hole, recording a birdie at the par-4 1st to win the championship.
At 45 years and 15 days, Irwin became the oldest winner of the U.S. Open, surpassing the record set in 1986 by Raymond Floyd by fifteen months. The oldest winner of a major is Julius Boros, 48 at the PGA Championship in 1968.
Curtis Strange attempted to win his third consecutive U.S. Open; he began the final round just two off the lead, but a final round 75 dropped him back to 21st place. Amateurs Phil Mickelson and David Duval made their major championship debuts, finishing in 29th and 56th place, respectively.
Scoring conditions were ideal throughout the week, with a record 39 under-par rounds in the first round and 47 in the second. A total of 28 players finished the tournament under-par, a new U.S. Open record.
Past champions in the field
Made the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||R3||R4||Total||To par||Finish|
|Hale Irwin||United States||1974, 1979||69||70||74||67||280||−8||1|
|Fuzzy Zoeller||United States||1984||73||70||68||73||284||−4||T8|
|Larry Nelson||United States||1983||74||67||69||75||285||−3||T14|
|Scott Simpson||United States||1987||66||73||73||73||285||−3||T14|
|Curtis Strange||United States||1988, 1989||73||70||68||75||286||−2||T21|
|Jack Nicklaus||United States||1962, 1967,
|Andy North||United States||1978, 1985||74||71||71||76||292||+4||T51|
Missed the cut
|Player||Country||Year won||R1||R2||Total||To par|
|Hubert Green||United States||1977||71||77||148||+4|
|Tom Watson||United States||1982||74||75||149||+5|
|Raymond Floyd||United States||1986||77||77||154||+10|
Thursday, June 14, 1990
|T1||Scott Simpson||United States||66||−6|
|Tim Simpson||United States|
|Jeff Sluman||United States|
|T4||Mike Donald||United States||67||−5|
|Steve Jones||United States|
|T6||Mark Brooks||United States||68||−4|
|John Huston||United States|
|T8||Emlyn Aubrey||United States||69||−3|
|Billy Ray Brown||United States|
|Hale Irwin||United States|
|Bob Tway||United States|
Friday, June 15, 1990
|1||Tim Simpson||United States||66-69=135||−9|
|2||Jeff Sluman||United States||66-70=136||−8|
|3||Mike Donald||United States||67-70=137||−7|
|4||Mark Brooks||United States||68-70=138||−6|
|T5||Hale Irwin||United States||69-70=139||−5|
|Scott Simpson||United States||66-73=139|
|T7||Billy Ray Brown||United States||69-71=140||−4|
|Jim Gallagher, Jr.||United States||71-69=140|
|John Huston||United States||68-72=140|
Saturday, June 16, 1990
|T1||Billy Ray Brown||United States||69-71-69=209||−7|
|Mike Donald||United States||67-70-72=209|
|T3||Mark Brooks||United States||68-70-72=210||−6|
|Larry Nelson||United States||74-67-69=210|
|Tim Simpson||United States||66-69-75=210|
|Jeff Sluman||United States||66-70-74=210|
|T7||Larry Mize||United States||72-70-69=211||−5|
|José María Olazábal||Spain||73-69-69=211|
|Mike Reid||United States||70-73-68=211|
|Curtis Strange||United States||73-70-68=211|
|Fuzzy Zoeller||United States||73-70-68=211|
Sunday, June 17, 1990
|Place||Player||Country||Score||To par||Money ($)|
|T1||Hale Irwin||United States||69-70-74-67=280||−8||Playoff|
|Mike Donald||United States||67-70-72-71=280|
|T3||Billy Ray Brown||United States||69-71-69-72=281||−7||56,878|
|T5||Mark Brooks||United States||68-70-72-73=283||−5||33,271|
|Tim Simpson||United States||66-69-75-73=283|
|T8||Scott Hoch||United States||70-73-69-72=284||−4||22,236|
|Steve Jones||United States||67-76-74-67=284|
|José María Olazábal||Spain||73-69-69-73=284|
|Tom Sieckmann||United States||70-74-68-72=284|
|Craig Stadler||United States||71-70-72-71=284|
|Fuzzy Zoeller||United States||73-70-68-73=284|
Cumulative tournament scores, relative to par
Monday, June 18, 1990
|1||Hale Irwin||United States||74||+2||3||220,000|
|2||Mike Donald||United States||74||+2||x||110,000|
- Irwin and Donald tied in the 18-hole playoff at 74 (+2).
- The sudden-death playoff began on hole #1 (385 yd., par 4), which Irwin (3) birdied and Donald (x) did not.
- Parascenzo, Marino (June 19, 1990). "Irwin rules U.S. Open". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 27.
- Bunch, Ken (June 19, 1990). "Irwin triumphs in duel at Open". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2.
- Swift, E.M. (June 25, 1990). "Hail, Irwin". Sports Illustrated. p. 16.
- "The 10 Best Duels in U.S. Open History". Golf.com. Archived from the original on May 8, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "1990 U.S. Open". databasegolf.com. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- "U.S. Open History". USGA. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
- Hackenberg, Dave (June 19, 1990). "Irwin's dream indeed comes true". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 23.
- "Irwin revises U.S. Open history". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. June 19, 1990. p. C1.
- "U.S. Open - playoff cards". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. June 19, 1990. p. C4.
|Major Championships||Succeeded by|
1990 Open Championship