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Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Top things to know: U.S. Open

By ESPN Stats & Information

The 113th U.S. Open gets underway Thursday at Merion Golf Club. Here are the top things to know this week:

• The U.S. Open returns to Merion Golf Club for the fifth time (first time since 1981). Merion Golf Club enjoys the distinction of hosting more USGA championships (the 2013 U.S. Open will be its 18th) than any other club in the country.

• Tiger Woods has not won a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open. The Sunday of this year’s U.S. Open will be five years to the day since he defeated Rocco Mediate in a Monday playoff to claim his 14th major title.

• Only one player has ever won more than four major championships after their 37th birthday: Ben Hogan, who won six. That included the 1950 U.S. Open, when Hogan was 37. Strangely enough, the 1950 U.S. Open that Hogan won came at Merion.

• The last reigning Masters champion to win the U.S. Open that same year was Woods in 2002. Masters champ Adam Scott is one of eight players who have made the cut in each of the previous five majors. Scott is a combined minus-15 in those five events -- Tiger Woods is second best in that group at plus-2.

• Webb Simpson is the defending U.S. Open champion. Simpson will attempt to become the first player to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles since Curtis Strange did it in 1988-89.

Tiger Woods
Since winning the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, 19 majors have been played without a Woods victory, although he has competed in just 15 of them.

Despite not winning since the U.S. Open in 2008, Tiger has had his share of close calls. Tiger has eight top-six finishes in majors since the 2008 Open Championship -- two more than any other player in that span.

Tiger still trails Jack Nicklaus by four majors (18-14). It’s worth noting that only three players have won four or more majors after their 37th birthday.

Phil Mickelson
Mickelson has been over par in 12 of his past 14 rounds at majors. He has been over par after the first round in 10 of the past 12 majors. In fact, the most recent major other than the Masters in which Mickelson has been under par after the first round was the 2009 U.S. Open (finished second). In the past three U.S. Opens, Mickelson has been T-93, T-62 and T-66 after the first round.

Mickelson hasn’t finished in the top 10 in any of the past four majors. The most recent time he had a streak of four majors without a top-10 finish, he nearly won the 2011 Open Championship, finishing tied for second (with Dustin Johnson) behind Darren Clarke.