What is it about Washington golf courses that produces U.S. Open blowouts? Two of the four biggest runaways in history have taken place right here in D.C.
We just saw Rory McIlroy trounce the field by eight shots at Congressional. That’s No. 4 all time. No. 3 – how quickly we forget – is Jim Barnes’ nine-stroke victory in the 1921 Open at Columbia Country Club.
Barnes (289) played his knickers off that week, leaving such legends as Walter Hagen (298), Bobby Jones (303) and Gene Sarazen (311) far in the dust. According to Sal Johnson’s “Official U.S. Open Almanac,” when Barnes putted out on the final hole, Warren G. Harding “was the first one to shake the new champion’s hand, making Barnes the only player in Open history to receive the trophy from the President of the United States.”
Like McIlroy, Barnes was the sole leader after each round – a rare feat. It was the third of his four major titles. He also won the PGA in 1916 and ’19 (when it was match play) and the British Open in ’25. You’ve gotta think Rory, just 22, will win a few more than that.