1959: Billy Casper
Winged Foot’s reputation as a putter’s course was more than generously upheld in 1959, when Billy Casper – possibly the best putter of his time – emerged victorious. Casper cemented his putting reputation at Winged Foot by averaging just 28.5 putts per round.
That was good enough to enable him to emerge one slim stroke ahead of Bob Rosburg with a four-round total of 282, two over par.
Casper held a three-stroke lead over Ben Hogan entering the final round, which was delayed from its usual Saturday afternoon slot to Sunday due to weather. He had built that lead in large measure by one-putting the final four holes, dropping putts of 10, eight, 11, and four feet.
That hot putting continued Sunday, Casper rolling in one-putts of four, eight, nine, seven, and 18 feet on the first five holes. In the windy final round conditions, that start mitigated a fumbling back nine and a closing score of 74. Hogan managed only a 76, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead — tied with Bob Rosburg for fourth – shot 74 and 75 respectively.
Rosburg made the best run, but after starting four strokes behind his 71 left him one stroke short.
Casper’s score measured 2.06 standard deviations better than the 296.34 four-round field average, making it the fourth most impressive win in Winged Foot U.S. Open history.