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Recap: Watson felt like he couldn’t break 80 when he arrived at Olympic Club, without a win in three years. He found his game and took a one-shot lead into the final round, then closed with a 70 for a round that would seem good enough to win a U.S. Open. Simpson, however, put together what he called the best round of putting in his life. He made three straight birdie putts starting on the 14th hole that gave him the lead, saved par with a 6-foot putt on the 18th and closed with a 2-under 68. Watson needed a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff, and his 45-footer from just off the green looked good all the way until stopping an inch short. Watson, just like Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan before him, never won another major. Seve Ballesteros was one off the lead until bogeys on the 12th and 13th. He was third, his highest finish in a U.S. Open.

Quote: “To beat Tom is something special. He’s beaten a lot of guys down the stretch over the years and he’s always aggressive. He gave it his best shot. I gave it my best shot. And I was fortunate to win.” _ Scott Simpson.

Year: 1966

Winner: Billy Casper

Score: 278

Runner-up: Arnold Palmer

Margin: Playoff (Casper 69, Palmer 73)

Earnings: $26,500

Recap: With a three-shot lead starting the final round, Palmer went out in 32 and led by seven shots with nine to play. The winner was no longer in doubt. The question was whether Palmer could break Ben Hogan’s record 276 set at Riviera in 1948. That quickly changed, however. Palmer dropped shots on the 10th and 13th, and even when Casper birdied the 15th, he still trailed by three shots with three to play. Casper birdied the 16th as Palmer made bogey, and he caught the King when Palmer made another bogey on the 17th. Palmer shot 39 on the back for a 71 (Casper shot 68) to set up a playoff. Palmer again got off to a fast start and led by two shots at the turn, but a two-shot swing at the 11th sent Palmer into another spiral and he never recovered. Casper shot 69 in the playoff to win by four. Palmer never won another major. The low amateur was a 19-year-old from San Francisco named Johnny Miller.

Quote: “Coming back to top Arnold in 1966 … I would say is something to remember.” _ Billy Casper.

Year: 1955

Winner: Jack Fleck

Score: 287

Runner-up: Ben Hogan

Margin: Playoff (Fleck 69, Hogan 72)

Story Continues →