Lew Worsham, 1947 U.S. Open champion, St. Louis Country Club

Posted June 16, 2016 - Western Pennsylvania Golf Association - Contact

As we celebrate the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club, June 13-19, we honor the four individuals from western Pennsylvania that have won the championship. This is Part Two of four.

When Lew Worsham interviewed for the head professional’s position at Oakmont Country Club in the spring of 1947, he told the committee he planned to compete in the 1947 U.S. Open at St. Louis Country Club. He was hired and two weeks later he won the championship. Worsham was the golf professional at Oakmont from 1947 until 1979.

The 1947 U.S. Open was the first to be televised locally. Worsham shot rounds of 70-70-71-71 for a 282 total, and was tied with Sam Snead at the end of regulation who recorded rounds of 72-70-70-70. They were three strokes ahead of the field.

It came down the the 90th hole and the final putts of the championship. Both players had putts under three feet. Worsham called for an official to determine who was away. The referee measured and Snead was away by an inch. Snead missed his putt and Worsham made his to claim the championship by one stroke with a round of 69 in the playoff.

Already an accomplished player, Worsham finished t-22 the in the previous year’s U.S. Open at Canterbury Golf Club in Beechwood, Oh. He had won the Middle-Atlantic PGA Section Championship in 1942 and 1946, and the 1945 Maryland Open.

Other than the US Open, his success had been primarily local with wins in the Middle-Atlantic PGA Section Championship in 1942, 1946 and 1947, and the 1945 Maryland Open.

Like many top players of his era, Worsham devoted most of his time to his duties at Oakmont and played occasionally on the PGA Tour, where he won six events. In addition to the U.S. Open, he won the Atlanta Invitational in 1946, the 1947 Denver Open, the Phoenix Open in 1951, and the Jacksonville Open and World Championship of Golf in 1953.

The 1953 World Championship of Golf at Tam O’Shanter Country Club in Niles, Ill., was the first event to be nationally televised. On the final hole, Worsham holed a 104-yard pitching wedge to win by one stroke. He led the PGA Tour money list in 1953 with $34,002 in winnings.

Worsham won the 1953 West Penn Open and the 1961 Tri-State PGA Section Championship. With his three Middle-Atlantic Section titles, he is in a small group of club professionals with wins in more than one Section. He was also runner-up twice in the Pennsylvania Open.

Worsham played in 44 majors and made the cut in 33. In sixteen appears at the Masters, he made the cut 13 times and finished top-10 three times. In his 15 appearances in the U.S. Open, he made nine cuts and recorded four top-15 finishes. He also reached the quarterfinals in the PGA Championship in 1947 and 1955.

In the majors, Worsham made twelve straight cuts from the 1946 U.S. Open through the 1950 Masters. He did not compete in the British Open.

Worsham was inducted to the Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame on September 26, 2013, as part of the inaugural class.