Five things to know: U.S. Open

Updated: June 14, 2009, 8:54 PM ET
ESPN Research

What should we expect when the 109th edition of the U.S. Open begins Thursday morning at 7 a.m. ET in Farmingdale, N.Y.? ESPN's research department dishes out a few tasty morsels of knowledge.

1: Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods heads to Bethpage Black this week as a kind of double defending champion. He captured the 2008 U.S. Open in dramatic fashion with two leg fractures and a torn ACL. Woods also won the U.S. Open the first time it was held at Bethpage State Park back in 2002 after posting a score of 3-under-par 277, 3 shots better than runner-up Phil Mickelson. Woods was the only player in the 156-man field to break par that year.

So what's at stake for Woods this time? He's seeking his 15th professional major and fourth U.S. Open title. He's trying to become the fifth man to win four U.S. Opens, joining Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus (all with four apiece).

The world's No. 1 golfer is also trying to become the first man to win consecutive U.S. Opens since Curtis Strange did so in 1988 and 1989.

2: New York state of mind

This year's U.S. Open is the ninth to be held on Long Island and 18th in the Empire State. That ranks for most Opens by state, three more than runner-up Pennsylvania.

Here's a list of the rest of the Long Island U.S. Opens (winners in parenthesis):

2004 -- Shinnecock Hills (Retief Goosen)
2002 -- Bethpage Black (Tiger Woods)
1995 -- Shinnecock Hills (Corey Pavin)
1986 -- Shinnecock Hills (Raymond Floyd)
1932 -- Fresh Meadows (Gene Sarazen)
1923 -- Inwood (Bobby Jones)
1902 -- Garden City (Laurie Auchterlonie)
1896 -- Shinnecock Hills (James Foulis)

So who's close to overtaking New York in most U.S. Opens by state?

Pennsylvania -- 15
Illinois -- 13
California -- 10

3: Tiger And Phil

Woods and Mickelson will certainly dominate the storylines this week at Bethpage Black. It's interesting to note, however, that both men have not contended in the same U.S. Open since 2002, when it was held at Bethpage Black. Tiger won that year, with Mickelson finishing second.

Here's how they've finished at the U.S. Open since 2002:

2008: Woods first, Mickelson T-18
2007: Woods T-2, Mickelson MC
2006: Woods MC, Mickelson T-2
2005: Woods second, Mickelson T-33
2004: Woods T-17, Mickelson second
2003: Woods T-20, Mickelson T-55
2002: Woods first, Mickelson second

This will be the fourth straight year in which one of the two carries some sort of injury or personal issue into the U.S. Open.

2009: On May 20, it is revealed that Mickelson's wife, Amy, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Mickelson immediately suspends his schedule and doesn't play again until the week before the U.S. Open at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.

2008: Woods undergoes knee surgery after the Masters and does not play in a PGA Tour event until the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Pushing himself to get ready for a possible start in The Memorial, he suffers a double stress fracture of the left tibia. Doctors recommended crutches for three weeks, then rest for another three weeks. But he goes against their advice and wins his 14th major championship anyway.

2007: Chipping in the thick rough at Oakmont while practicing during Memorial Day weekend, Mickelson injures his left wrist, putting in doubt his participation in the U.S. Open. Mickelson decides to compete, but shoots 74-77--151 (11-over) to miss the cut for the first time at the U.S. Open in 15 years.

2006: Playing his first tournament after the death of his father six weeks earlier, Woods is obviously rusty although he doesn't make any excuses for his showing at Winged Foot. He shoots 76-76--152 (12-over) and misses the cut in a major for the first time as a professional.

4: The course

Best Ball Challenge

How many golf courses have an actual warning sign before stepping to the first tee? Bethpage Black does, and for good reason.

The 2009 U.S. Open venue is one of only two municipally owned facilities to host an Open. It became the first in 2002 and Torrey Pines followed in 2008. At 7,426 yards, the par-70 Bethpage Black will play 212 yards longer than it did in 2002.

Some noteworthy tidbits about the course:

• In 2002, it was the longest course in U.S. Open history. At its yardage for the 2009 tournament (7,426 yards), it will be the seventh-longest course in major championship history.

• There are three par-4s of more than 500 yards. One of them -- the 525-yard seventh hole -- is longer than the par-5 fourth hole, which is 517 yards.

• The seventh hole will be the longest par-4 in U.S. Open history, overtaking the 515-yard sixth hole last year at Torrey Pines.

• New York State residents have to pay only $50 to play Bethpage Black on weekdays and $60 on weekends. Nonresidents pay $100 and $120, respectively.

• Only one par-4, the 389-yard second hole, is shorter than 400 yards.

Bethpage Black Golf Course, hole-by-hole
Hole 1 -- par-4, 430 yards
Hole 2 -- par-4, 389 yards
Hole 3 -- par-3, 232 yards
Hole 4 -- par-5, 517 yards
Hole 5 -- par-4, 478 yards
Hole 6 -- par-4, 408 yards
Hole 7 -- par-4, 525 yards
Hole 8 -- par-3, 210 yards
Hole 9 -- par-4, 460 yards

Hole 10 -- par-4, 508 yards
Hole 11 -- par-4, 435 yards
Hole 12 -- par-4, 504 yards
Hole 13 -- par-5, 605 yards
Hole 14 -- par-3, 158 yards
Hole 15 -- par-4, 459 yards
Hole 16 -- par-4, 490 yards
Hole 17 -- par-3, 207 yards
Hole 18 -- par-4, 411 yards

5: Last, but not least

When was the last time an amateur won the U.S. Open? How about the last U.S. Open wire-to-wire winner? The last back-to-back winner?

Well, if you ever want to win the day in bar room trivia, the list below contains 26 different "lasts" at the U.S. Open.

• Last foreign winner: Angel Cabrera, Argentina, 2007

• Last to defend title successfully: Curtis Strange, 1989

• Last to win three consecutive Opens: Willie Anderson, 1903 to '05

• Last player to win the Open on his first try: Francis Ouimet, 1913

• Last player to win the Open on his second try: Jerry Pate, T-18th in first try in 1975, winner in 1976

• Last amateur to win Open: John Goodman, 1933

• Last start-to-finish winner (no ties): Tiger Woods, 2002

• Last winner to capture money title in same year: Tiger Woods, 2002

• Last winner to birdie the 72nd hole: Tiger Woods, 2008

• Last winner to birdie the 72nd hole to force a playoff: Tiger Woods, 2008

• Last winner to birdie the 72nd hole to win by 1 stroke: Robert T. Jones Jr. (amateur), 1926

• Last winner to birdie the 72nd hole to win by 2 strokes: Lee Janzen, 1993

• Last to win without a round in the 60s: Geoff Ogilvy, 2006

• Last to win with all rounds in the 60s: Lee Janzen, 1993

• Last to win with a round in the 80s: John McDermott (80), in playoff, 1911

• Last to win with a round of 77: Sam Parks Jr., in first round, 1935

• Last to win with a round of 76: Angel Cabrera, in third round, 2007

• Last to win with a round of 75: Payne Stewart, in playoff, 1991

• Last to win after being in sectional qualifying: Michael Campbell, 2005

• Last to win after being in local and sectional qualifying: Orville Moody, 1969

• Last winner age 20-29: Geoff Ogilvy (29), 2006

• Last winner age 30-39: Tiger Woods (32), 2008

• Last winner over 40: Payne Stewart (42), 1999 (sixth-oldest in history)

• Last winner who received a special exemption: Hale Irwin, 1990

• Last defending champion to miss the cut: Angel Cabrera, 2008

• Last to win without a sub-par round: Geoff Ogilvy, 2006

ESPN Stats & Information