The first U.S. Open was played on October 4, 1895, on a nine-hole course at the Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island. It was a 36-hole competition and was played in a single day. Ten professionals and one amateur entered. The winner was a 21-year-old Englishman named Horace Rawlins, who had arrived in the U.S. in January that year to take up a position at the host club. He received $150 cash out of a prize fund of $335, plus a $50 gold medal; his club received the Open Championship Cup trophy, which was presented by the USGA.
In the beginning, the tournament was dominated by experienced British players until 1911, when John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner. American golfers soon began to win regularly and the tournament evolved to become one of the four majors.
Since 1911, the title has been won mostly by players from the United States. Since 1950, players from only six countries other than the United States have won the championship, most notably South Africa, which has won five times since 1965. A streak of four consecutive non-American winners occurred from 2004 to 2007 for the first time since 1910. These four players, South African Retief Goosen (2004), New Zealander Michael Campbell (2005), Australian Geoff Ogilvy (2006) and Argentine Ángel Cabrera (2007), are all from countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell (2010) became the first European player to win the event since Tony Jacklin of England in 1970; three more Europeans won in the next four editions, making it only three American wins in the last 11 tournaments.