June 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. Open golf tournament will celebrate its 117th edition from June 15-18 when it is held for the first time in Wisconsin at Erin Hills.
* The second of the year’s four major championships, the U.S. Open is staged in mid-June with the final round, weather-permitting, played on the third Sunday of the month - on Father’s Day.
* The U.S. Open is widely regarded as the toughest of the four majors with its traditional course set-up of narrow fairways, thick rough and firm, fast conditions combining to produce a severe mental challenge.
* It was played for the first time as a 36-hole competition in a single day on October 4, 1895 at Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island. Horace Rawlins, a 21-year-old Englishman, claimed the inaugural title.
* The tournament was dominated by British players in the early years until John McDermott, in 1911, became the first winner who was born in the United States.
* Two years later, Francis Ouimet at the age of 20 beat British golfing heavyweights Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in a playoff over 18 holes to win the 1913 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, a victory that electrified the nation and set the tone for a pipeline of American winners.
* By the end of World War One, the U.S. Open had become an important world championship and gained a significant surge in popularity when Georgia amateur Bobby Jones dominated the event with four victories between 1923 and 1930.
* Spectator tickets were sold for the first time in 1922 and, following a boom in entries, the United States Golf Association — the tournament’s organising body — introduced sectional qualifying in 1924.
* Jones, widely regarded as the greatest amateur of all time, won the last of his four Open titles at Interlachen in 1930 when he holed a 40-foot putt on the 18th green to clinch victory by two strokes from Macdonald Smith.
* In 1950, just 16 months after breaking his pelvis, a shoulder, a rib and an ankle in a car accident that almost killed him, Ben Hogan played through extreme pain and nausea to win his second U.S. Open in an 18-hole playoff with George Fazio and Lloyd Mangrum at Merion.
* Arnold Palmer drove the green on the par-four opening hole in the final round of the 1960 Open at Cherry Hills, setting the tone for a brilliant closing 65 and one of the greatest last-day victory charges ever in a major championship as he came from seven strokes behind to triumph by two.
* Aged 40, Jack Nicklaus improved his own U.S. Open scoring record by three strokes when he won the 1980 championship for a record-equalling fourth time with a 72-hole aggregate of 272 at Baltusrol Golf Club.
* Hale Irwin, aged 45, became the oldest U.S. Open winner when he clinched the title for a third time after a playoff with journeyman Mike Donald at Medinah in 1990.
* Tiger Woods, firmly established as the world number one, was in a class of his own as he romped to his first U.S. Open victory at Pebble Beach in 2000 by a tournament record 15 strokes, a closing four-under 67 putting him level with the Nicklaus benchmark of 12-under 272.
* Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, aged 22, confirmed his rich promise as a potential golfing great with a commanding eight-stroke victory in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional where he posted a tournament low of 16-under 268 for 72 holes.
* American Jordan Spieth, aged just 21, became the youngest U.S. Open champion since Jones in 1923 with a thrilling one-shot victory at Chambers Bay in 2015 that also made him the youngest player to win two major titles since Gene Sarazen in 1922. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Gene Cherry)