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FOCUS ON GOLF: U.S. Senior Open

Riviera Majors

July 23, 1998

1948 U.S. OPEN

Winner: Ben Hogan

* 1948 Revisited--This was the first U.S. Open played in California, although not the first major championship; the 1929 PGA was played at Hillcrest. Riviera wasn't known as Hogan's Alley before this tournament, and Hogan wasn't even a legend then. But after winning the Los Angeles Open in 1947 and 1948, and following those up with the first of his four U.S. Open championships, the name stuck. His score of 276 was five below Ralph Guldahl's record. Jimmy Demaret (278) and Jim Turnesa (280) were also under the old record. Sam Snead was the leader after 36 holes, but he faded on the weekend with rounds of 73-72 and finished fifth at 283. Hogan won $2,000.

1983 PGA

Winner: Hal Sutton

* 1983 Revisited--The forecast was for heat, humidity and continuous Hal. Temperatures were in the high 90s all week, and there was even a delay on Saturday because of an electrical storm (the PGA often resembles more a survival test than a test of elite golf). The man who weathered the conditions was 25-year-old Hal Sutton, who was considered by some to be the next Jack Nicklaus. Sutton led all the way, burning up the course on Thursday and Friday with rounds of 65-66. And he barely held off the charge of the old Jack Nicklaus, who shot a 66 on Sunday and came up one shot short. Sutton, who won $100,000, would never live up to the promise and is still seeking his second major title.

1995 PGA

Winner: Steve Elkington

* 1995 Revisited--Riviera's greens took a major beating. It wasn't bad enough that Steve Elkington defeated Colin Montgomerie on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff after they tied at 17-under 267, that Michael Bradley equaled the tournament record with an opening 63, that it took a score of par to make the cut. But the greens, which had been rebuilt, never took hold. They were too soft, they didn't look very good, and--worst for Riviera's reputation--they were not considered major quality and the players were only too happy to mention it. Scores were almost obscenely low. It was the first major title for Australia's Elkington, who charged with a 64 on Sunday to catch Montgomerie. The victory was worth $360,000 to Elkington and added a chapter to Montgomerie's book of major disappointment.

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